Saturday, 27 March 2010

Snails (Xοχλιοί)

A brief break from my travel musings to concentrate on the food of the holy times ahead of us...

A favorite lenten meal in Crete consists of snails, boiled or fried, spiced up with vinegar and rosemary, as the following mantinada (Cretan form of poetry) attests:

"Ο Κρητικός στη ξενιτειά πόσα λεφτά δε δίδει
να βρει μπουμπουριστούς χοχλιούς να φάει με το ξύδι;"

Oh, how much would a Cretan pay if he could only track
some fried snails dressed in vinegar when in a foreign land?

Coincidentally, I saw many people at Le Chartier ordering the snail dish, the most expensive entree on the menu. The snail shells were huge, up to three (yes, that's 3!) times the size of the snail shells depicted here. I couldn't bring myself to order them, for similar reasons to the opinion expressed by the protagonist of this story...

(from 'The Roots of the Greeks: The Cretans', 2009, Pigasos Ekdotiki - Pegasus Publications, translated from the Greek)

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