Tapa Thursdays: Caracoles

Spain is a country in which some foods are seasonal: pumpkins are ripest around Autumn, chestnuts are peddled on the street at Christmastime and strawberries show up on the market in February or March.

Then the signs start showing up: HAY CARACOLES. Snails here.

For someone who’s a texture freak when it comes to food, I slurped down my first little tentacled creature during my first Spring in Seville. And I wanted more. Like shrimp, I’ve learned to love them and giddily wait for la temporada de caracoles.

What it is: This little bugger, a common snail in English, has been eaten since the Bronze Age, and in Spain they’re prepared by cleaning the mollusk while it’s still alive, and boiling them over low heat with garlic, spices, salt and cayenne pepper for nearly two hours. You can get a tapa for around 1,80€, a plate for 5€ or even buy bags of live snails on the street near market and make them at home.

Where it comes from: Snails are eaten all over the place, but the caracoles that you’ll commonly find in Seville are found near the Atlantic coast and in Morocco.

Goes great with: Alright, it’s getting trite now…everything just tastes better with beer. The Novio and I often meet after work for a beer or two and a tapa of caracoles.

Where to find them: Bars all over Seville (as well as Córdoba) will serve up tapas of caracoles during the springtime. My picks are Casa Diego in Triana (Calle Esperanza de Triana, 19. Closed Sundays) and Cervecería La Tiza in Los Bermejales (Avda. de Alemania, s/n. Open daily).

Like caracoles? Have a Spanish food you’d like to see featured on my bi-weekly tapas feature? If you’re interested in learning more about mollusks, read more on my guest post on Spanish Sabores.

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living among pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she wrangles babies at an English Language Academy and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.

Comments

  1. Paddy Waller says:

    Nice post.Not a big snail lover myself(they’re like slugs with houses) but my Spanish in laws positively fight over them in the Paella or Murcian rice. I have also been out countless times with them in the mountains of NW Murcia to collect snails after rain…the inlaws really only eat a mountain type…I believe most ones sold in bars are bred in snail farms but not sure what proportion of them….Breeding snails sounds like a boring profession but maybe it isn’t!

  2. I’ve had the biggest craving for some snails lately and this post isn’t helping much! :P
    Trevor Huxham recently posted..Valencia, Spain: A Pretty, Tasty City Worth VisitingMy Profile

  3. Christine says:

    Ahh so jealous. In my mind, I am tearing off pieces of bread to sop up all the garlic infused goodness left on the plate after.

  4. Julia says:

    Mmmmm, GIMME! I am such a snail lover, ever since I was a youngin’!

    Do you know if they prepare them with just aceite in Spain? I haven’t had snails since I was 15 when I developed a severe dairy allergy and have been wary of the butter snails are usually drowned in. If you tell me I can get butter-free snails in Sevilla, I may just have to hop on the next flight! x
    Julia recently posted..simple pleasures in the eternal cityMy Profile

  5. Gayla says:

    I’ve only ever had the French-style ‘escargot’ with garlic butter and I liked them. I’d be tempted to try the boiling method with spices, too. Sounds delicious.
    Gayla recently posted..What to see in Siena – Il Duomo di SienaMy Profile

  6. Pedro Meca says:

    love caracoles!

    if you prepare them at home, it’s very important that they don’t eat anything for a couple of days before cooking them, so their stomach is fully empty.

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