Italy’s Snail-Loving Village

Though often thought of as a French dish, Italians equally love their lumache! And our village is no exception! In our area of Abruzzo, it’s known as the snail-loving village!

A lover of snails himself, my husband fits in well with these villagers. Who, in this area are known as the sciumacchini or ‘snail eaters’! In fact, he looks forward to our town’s snail festivals, those few times a year when he gets to eat his fill of them. 

Our snail festivals are a real community time!

Most of the village turn out. Like a big family dinner, because nearly everyone knows each other.

But did you know that snails are gluten free, low in fat and carbohydrates, yet high in protein? And especially high in iron, B-12, and magnesium. Along with healthy levels of potassium and sodium. So you can try them, guilt-free, if you’re brave enough!

You’re welcome to come and enjoy this healthy delicacy…

Along with my husband, that is! Or try fixing them at home! But be forewarned. Snails take a lot of preparation. And to me they also seem difficult to eat. They have to pick out those little bits of meat with toothpicks before slurping them down.

I tried some once. Ate two (and only two) from Hubby’s plate, and spent the rest of the night throwing up. So, though they were delicious (going down) I say, “Never again!!” But most people I know eat them with no problems. Apparently, I have an intolerance.

So I think I’ll just stick to my favorite regional dish: arrosticini served with homemade french fries! Perhaps not as healthy, but ever so good!

But if you don’t like snails or lamb, you could always choose something else. Like pasta fagioli (pasta and beans) or a sausage or pancetta sandwich! But whatever food you choose I guarantee it will be good!

Just don’t forget to bring your snail money first! It’s the only acceptable currency at the feasts, here in the snail-loving village!

Have you ever had snails?

Would you like to try them?

Published by Signora Sheila

Missionary blogger, wife, mom, nonna. Join my simple life journey of faith and missions in small town Italy!

17 thoughts on “Italy’s Snail-Loving Village

  1. I’ve never tried snails but after your confession of throwing up after eating two, I seriously doubt I ever will. But I love the fact that the community gathers for something so wonderfully specific to your area. Community is the big thing, the chance to gather and enjoy the company of others without rush but in celebration. We need more of that this side of the pond. COVID19 is making that a bit difficult now. But God. Always But God. Thanks for this delightful peek into your life, Sheila.

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    1. I don’t know, Dayle, a lot of people I know here love them and have no problem with them. And I do have a rather weak stomach in that regard. But you’re right community is what it’s all about. I hope that this lockdown and social distancing will make people realize how important it is, and perhaps when it’s over, people will get back to making time for others and real connections. We can surely hope so!

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  2. I’ve never tried snails, but have eaten eel (way too much “fishy flavor” for me), octopus (good–much like calamari), alligator (like tough chicken!), and chocolate covered ants (think Nestle’s Chocolate Crunch). I’m pretty sure that’s the full list of “Weird Stuff I Have Eaten.” Have you tried any of those, Sheila?

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    1. Well Nancy, my list of “wierd foods” has changed a lot since living in Italy, because I discovered that a lot of things I considered wierd weren’t wierd in much of the world, LOL! Seafood is commonly eaten here and much loved. So yes, I have had octopus, calamari, and most of them. So far, I never have been offered eel, though Hubby grew up with it and loves it. We did try alligator. But as it was just the tail, we found it soft, succulent, delicious, and yes, a bit like chicken. Definitely a white meat. No insects, and I’m not sure I could eat them! But we have also tried dolphin, which was far too strong and fishy; I wouldn’t eat it again. Plus I felt like an assassin eating Flipper, whom I loved! We are occasionaly served ostrich here, a dark meat and surprising good. Horse is also commonly served; quite good and very nutritious. But again, I always feel a bit like an assassin, eathing Black Beauty! Most parts of the pig are eaten, both interior and exterior. And many cow interior parts, along with lamb and chicken livers. Both rabbit and lamb are commonly eaten, and both quite delicious. And there is a certain type of cold cuts (lucheon meat) sold. Mortadella. It’s sort of a mix between a sausage and bologna, made of pork and pork fat, with black pepper kernels.
      And I’m sure if we could travel the world, we’d encounter many strange (and perhaps scary) foods. I might try them – but I’m pretty sure Hubby would be right there trying them all! It would be fun to see, anyway!!

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  3. Snails are one of those things I wouldn’t consider eating, which is odd because being raised as a midwestern country boy I’ve eaten a lot of things most would never consider. Ground hog, muskrat, beef heart, and pig ears come to mind. These days I stick to more conventional foods. Just the other day I had some delicious gnocchi, one of my favorite dishes. I love all types of seafood as well.

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    1. I think a good portion of people are with you, Ron, on eating more conventional foods. And snails do seem to be a particularly hard one to swallow. I have to admit that they were pretty good – but they sure didn’t like me!! And I agree – gnocchi are simply delicious!! Buon appetito!

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  4. I think I’ll stick to sandwiches. 🙂 Though, recently for me, I’ve been eating green cabbage, and love it! I also tried brussel sprouts at the beginning of this week, for the first time, and I actually love them. (I roasted them in the oven with a little oil and garlic salt.)

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    1. Cabbage and brussel srpouts yum! Over here in Italy most vegetables and greens are loved and eaten often. It’s part of the Mediterranean diet and so good for us. Snails actually are very yummy. Not at all squishy and slimy as I had imagined. But they sure did make me sick. But that’s OK the sausage sandwiches are great on the lovely Italian bread. Come on over!

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  5. I have actually, in France years ago. Sad to say, a lot of work for little return. Rather like the people in my part of the world who just love crayfish. I am a crab leg type of guy myself…more meat for the work!

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    1. So true Wally! It is a lot of work and very little to eat!! I’m not a fish or seafood lover in general. But Mario can’t get enough of either crayfish or crabs. One thing I must say though is that the seafood here is really good. Especially if you can eat it on the special restaurants over the sea that we have here in Abruzzo! “Italy’s Trabocchi Restaurants.” They are really quite unique!!

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  6. I have had snails and like the taste, but they are too much work for so little to eat. Although I would eat them again if given some. I like to try all kinds of foods.

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    1. I agree Tom, they do taste good. Which surprised me! But I sure paid for eating those two snails…never again!! And they are too much work for little food. And also rather expensive. But if you come over, we’ll get you some!! You sound like Mario, he’ll try most foods too. I’m a bit more cautious!!

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