A KILDARE snail farm is on the trail for success after becoming the first farm of its kind in Ireland to produce onsite escargot.
There’s nothing slow moving about Shamrock Escargots in Ballycowan, Nurney. The company is less than a year old and has already harvested 250,000 snails from some 10,000 originally imported from France.
The Kildare farm is one of only four in Europe to sell escargot liver and has Ireland’s first licensed escargot processed kitchen to make luxury caviar, escargots with garlic butter, marinated escargot liver and escargot fillets.
The venture was started by Czech Republic native Marek Pokorney who swopped a career as a civil and environmental engineer for a much slower paced life.
“I came to Ireland as a plumber eleven years ago and went to college to study first civil and then environmental engineering. However when my work contract ended last year, I decided to take a risk,” he said.
“I imported 10,000 snails from France and because of my background, I was able to design and build my one-acre farm, including a 50ft breeding unit, hibernation unit and the kitchen.
“I have to keep them well fenced in. They may be slow but they can travel up to 50m a night.”
It takes about 18 snails to make enough eggs for a 75g pot of caviar and each snail only breeds once a year.
Marek was demonstrating how to cook escargots at a food festival in Dublin last weekend putting together a lovely dish with Irish staples bacon, garlic and brussel sprouts.
He was demonstrating how to combine snails with traditional Irish food at the second annual Bite Food Festival in the RDS,