Catalan snail eating

Simon Rice has written for me this great guide to Catalan food. Here is on Catalan snails:

Cargols – snails: dozens of small snails are washed and arranged open side up in special tin trays, olive oil is drizzled over them and the whole baked over an open fire and served with alioli or romesco or both as a dip. This dish is called cargols a la llauna and is a speciality of Lleida province, as indeed are many more snail dishes. As the snails are easy to collect after rain and are freebies, something close to the Catalan heart, the whole thing soon becomes a party with whooping children running amuck in a collecting frenzy and Hey Presto! You have a cargolada ! NB the snails don’t have a chance to clean themselves, i.e. to empty their horrible little bowels, before their cremation, so there’s a knack to nibbling the ‘flesh’ of from the ‘gut’ which is left on the end of your picking stick – personally I find the whole thing disgusting! ”

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