My son eats snails!

Thankfully not the kind a child might dig out of the mud but the properly edible type!

The first place he ever ate them was the Osteria al Ritrovo del Platano. We stopped by one day when passing to look at the menu. He kept pestering to go there and try them. Pester power won and we went, thinking he just wanted to try them out of kiddie gruesomeness and he’d get it out of his system. But he not only ate them all but with very apparent relish. Ever since whenever it’s his chance to choose where to eat he chooses there. He’s since eaten snails at other restaurants, but this place is the top choice for him. He claims they are bigger there. And as this was his first snail experience this for him is exactly how they should be.

I can’t tell you what snails are like to eat. I’m a vegetarian. According to my son the snails are chewy and he likes the texture with the garlicky buttery sauce they are cooked in. He doesn’t eat meat either, but he loves seafood. The first non veggie food he ate was clams from his dad’s spaghetti alle vongole at age 5 so maybe snails aren’t too big a jump from shellfish. In order to sort the snail eating thing out in his head he defines himself as someone who doesn’t eat mammals!

I suspect he also likes the ritual involved. The snails come on a special plate with an indentation to hold  each snail and there are tongs to hold the snail steady and a special pronged fork to winkle them out of the shell.

Osteria al Ritrovo del Platano is a small restaurant with a small but well chosen menu. Game features particularly and local Garfagnana specialities.  Obviously I don’t have the snails! My starter is always the warm black truffle eggs, and then maybe truffle pasta, or maybe a cheese platter.

The walls are decorated with memorabilia of Giovanni Pascoli, a famous Italian poet who had a house nearby at Castelvecchio from 1895 until his death in 1912. Pascoli used to frequent this osteria, and surely it cannot look that different from  his day, still having a rustic charm.

The Osteria al Ritrovo del Platano is at Ponte di Campia on the SS445 Garfagnana road which runs alongside the Serchio river, north of Lucca, Tuscany. It is between Gallicano and Castelnuovo di Garfagnana and also easily reached in 10minutes from nearby Barga via Castelvecchio Pascoli.  From Bagni di Lucca it’s 25minutes drive. http://www.osteriaalritrovodelplatano.it/

Pascoli’s home at Castelvecchio is now a museum

About From a Tuscan Villa

Tuscan B&B, bed and breakfast accommodation and self catering villa rental in Bagni di Lucca, northern Tuscany, Italy
This entry was posted in Eating out, Food in Tuscany, Garfagnana and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to My son eats snails!

  1. Debra Kolkka says:

    I have never been here, but now I can’t wait to visit. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Debra, will you try the snails?

  3. Gian Banchero says:

    As a child I would accompany my Sicilian mother and grandmother to the fields in order to bring home buckets of snails. Unlike the Piemontese side of the family who would cook snails similar to the French (with tons of garlic and parsley) Mamma and Nonna would cook them in a light tomato sauce (with hot peppers and origano, alla picchi pacchiu) for spaghetti. Snails were one of the “exotic” foods that I weaned the young ones in my family on here in the States, now in their 30s they often accompany me out to the fields for snail “safaris”, also to forage wild greens, several of the young ones are experts at wild mushroom hunting, there’s a lot of free stuff out there. The photos of the osteria have me wanting to return to Italy immediately!! Thank you for the photos and article.

  4. The snails he has had here in Tuscany have been French style garlic. That’s wonderful that you have been able to share your food heritage with your children even outside of Italy. It makes me wish I’d had a nonna to teach me what to forage. Coming from the UK we have lost that being in touch with real food and where it comes from. It’s hard starting from scratch as an adult, knowing what’s okay. I’m too cowardly to risk picking mushrooms at all but at least I’ve now cooked nettles, it’s a start!

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