Friday 30 April 2010

La Cargolade

The department of Roussillon in the south of France has its own gastronomy and traditions but with Spain is so close there are great Catalan overtones.  One of these customs is la cargolade, an open air meal enjoyed by friends and family, traditionally on Easter Monday or Whit Monday, but it can happen at any great celebration or gathering.  To call it a picnic would be to give the wrong impression entirely.  It's no ordinary picnic.

From the back of the card:
Elle se fait en plein air a l'occasion du Lundi de Pâques et du Lundi de Pentecôte, ou d'une réunion d'amis
Dès que la braise est à point, on place sur de grand grils les escargots.  Quand ils commencent à grésiller on les flambe à l'aide d'une torche formée par une barde de lard enroulée dans un papier graisseux.  Il faut faire tomber quelques gouttes de graisse dans chaque escargot.
Monter un bon allioli que l'on étale sur des tartines de pain.  Il est nécessaire d'accompagner ces mets épicés par un bon vin du pays, Baixas, Maury que l'on boira de préférence à la régalade avec un "Porro".
It takes place out of doors on Easter Monday or Whit Monday, or at a gathering of friends.
As soon as the coals are ready, the snails are places on the grill.  When they start to sizzle, they are flamed using a torch made from a strip of fatty pork skin wrapped in greased paper.  A few drops of fat should be dropped on each snail.
Make a good aioli which should be spread on slices of bread.  It's necessary to accompany this meal spiced by a good local wine, Baixas, Maury, which should preferably be drunk without letting one's lips touch the bottle, with a "Porro".

I think this is one festivity that I may miss out.  Neither the snails nor drinking wine poured from a great height from a long necked bottle really appeal to me.

The card was mailed from Banyuls-sur-Mer, on the south coast of France, on 5 July 1973.  No mention of food is made in the message, only how very hot the weather was.

This is a post for Postcard Friday, which is hosted by Beth Niquette at The Best Hearts are Crunchy.


  1. I wouldn't mind trying snails if they are properly cooked.

    I posted my PFF cards last night but will be out by the time the linky is posted.

  2. Great Catalan overtones. ::Shudder::

    Sounds like a mystery novel or some sort of new abstract painting school. :)

    I had no idea the French celebrated Whit Monday that far south.

    But you know me - I love to eat new things. Count me in! :) :)

  3. I prefer other food than the snail, if change to be seafood on fire would be best :)

    Beautiful card.

    You Got A Posty ~ PFF
    Theme Day ~ Statue

  4. tiny sea snails snails? no way!! ...i really don't think i could face them (i haven't eaten meat for over twenty years although i'm not sure if snails really count as "meat"!!)

  5. the old traditions are wonderful, I would love to attend LA Caroglade at least once to see maybe not eat and drink. Thanks for sharing. Happy PFF!

  6. Wonderful card and interesting . I'm not a snail lover either, but like the idea of friends and family gathering for a feast out of doors. Too bad it's too humid down here to do such a thing! :D :D Happy PFF!

  7. I've had snails in garlic & butter sauce and they were exquisite. AAaaaahhhhh...makes me hungry just thinking about it. (grin)

    Wonderful post! Happy PFF!

  8. Now that is a most unusual "picnic." I tried escargot at a French restaurant once. It was very buttery and garlicky, but a bit too rubbery for me. Also, just knowing that it was cooked snail was off-putting.

    Btw, the snails we have in our gardens eating everything here in California are said to have been brought over by a Frenchman who let them loose outside.

  9. Think I would keep firmly to the wine with some nice crusty bread. Still I believe French edibile snails are in short supply so maybe there would be something more appitising.

  10. Sounds tasty to me. Viva la cargolade! And a happy (belated) PFF!

  11. Thank you all for your comments. I'm impressed with how many are prepared to try the snails. :)

    @Max, I'll send you a recipe. let me know how it goes. :) :)


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