Adventurous eating, like anything, takes will and courage. With current food trends that range from unicorn toast to wasabi cookies, the culinary future holds many more exotic eats to try, but if you let your hesitation get the best of you, you won't taste the best the world has to offer. Life is about broadening culinary horizons, especially for young foodies.

In order to embrace new culinary creations, you must have experienced the classics. One culinary classic that many haven't dared to try is escargot. If you are asking yourself right now, what is escargot? It is a true travesty if you have never eaten it because it is succulent and delicious. But I am here to right that wrong!

Understandably, food that is exotic or unknown can be disconcerting, but learning about food is one of the ways to help overcome makes it less scary. This is everything you need to know about escargot.

What is Escargot?

Escargot is French for snail, and it is a snail dish that is a common delicacy in many European countries like France, Spain and Portugal. However, escargot is not quite as ubiquitous in America. It is (mostly) exclusive at French restaurants, but there are exceptions. I ate escargot for the first time at a fish camp in Florida.

Snails are fairly nutritional—depending on how you cook them—because they are high in protein and have a low-fat content. But it's important to know that not all snails are edible; only a few species of land snails can be used as escargot. That means if you find a snail in your garden and want to try escargot, don't cook it. It is probably not edible and you'll most likely get really sick.

Many Americans are squeamish at the thought of eating snails, but snails are simply another animal that we eat. It is no different than pig, deer, or even quail. People have been eating snails for thousands of years—30,000 to be exact, according to a study conducted by PLOS One.

How is it served?

Escargot is typically served as an appetizer or main entrée. Traditionally French-style cooked snails are made with a parsley and garlic butter. There are special pans used to cook and serve snails in. The pan is essentially a one-sided sauté pan with six to twelve cavities depending on the size of your pan. The snails are cooked individually in each cavity.  However, you don't need a special cast-iron escargot pan to cook escargot. It can also be prepared by cooking it in a saute pan with butter. 

They can be served inside their shells along with bread on the side to eat with the snails and soak up the butter sauce. Escargot is usually finished off with extra herbs and sometimes cheese.

The escargot I ate was cooked in butter, garlic, and parsley and served in a cast-iron escargot dish. But they gave me bread to put my escargot on top of to soak up the goodness. Escargot is kind of similar to eating mussels, but they're chewier. Depending on how the escargot is prepared, the flavor can vary because escargot itself has a pretty mild flavor (similar to mussels). Most escargot tastes like garlic butter because that is what they're cooked in. Mine was inundated in butter and garlic and it was buttery, silky, and divine. Definitely top 10 one of the best things I have ever eaten. I ate that at a fish camp. I can't even imagine what it would be like to eat escargot in France! #BucketList

If you want to try this amazing delicacy, your best chance of finding it is at a higher end, French restaurant. And if you do really go to a fancy French restaurant, you won't need to ask, "What is escargot?" You will be able to order this delicious dish without hesitation and impress your friends. But fair warning, because it is a delicacy, it will most likely be pricey unless you luck out and find it at a run-down fish camp like I did!

garlic, shellfish, fish, escargots, escargot, Herbs
Shelby Cohron

If you are a cooking connoisseur, here are some recipes to make your own escargot at home: Escargot a la Bourguignonne, Classic French Escargot, Escargot in Garlic and Parsley Butter.Once you have conquered escargot, you are ready to try guinea pig and starfish! Just kidding! But if you are the ultra-adventurous type, check out The 25 Weirdest Animals People Eat Around the World, that might be the perfect road map for you! 

Food is about opening up your mind to the culinary possibilities, and escargot is the perfect step to do so. If you end up traveling abroad, you must do everyone in the culinary world a favor (and all broke people living vicariously through you) and eat snails while you are there! But if you're a homebody like myself, dare a smaller venture and try out that new French restaurant that opened downtown! (I bet they offer escargot!) Take your friends so that when they ask, "What is escargot?" you can show off your new profound knowledge and explain it to them.