At this time of year, Frédéric Marcouyoux’s thousands of snails fit in a small cold room. This is where gastropods are stored during their long period of hibernation. “In nature, they bury themselves, they put themselves in the cool to spend the winter. We put them in nets. The snail makes its operculum on the front of the shell, which allows it to keep its humidity throughout the winter“, explains the heliculturist based in Vernot in Côte-d’Or.
Snails that will spend six months sleeping at a constant temperature and which, in a few weeks, will wake up to begin their reproductive phase, between April and June. A phase that the breeder is actively preparing and in particular the wooden boxes which will accommodate the frolics of the snails. The goal: to have as many babies as possible by the start of summer.
And babies, Frédéric Marcouyoux hopes for 500,000, who will then join the parks where they will continue to grow. For the breeder, this period of hibernation is also the time to reinstall the boards on which the snails will grow until the fall. Then comes harvesting and cooking. Once again gathered in fillets, the snails are cooked in court-bouillon for two hours then put in jars or prepared in Burgundy style, with snail butter. Burgundy snails which are mostly consumed on the occasion of the end of year celebrations.