Hail the Snail

caragoles Mallorca_

Today, April 25th, Mallorca celebrates the Day of Sant Marc (Mark the Evangelist). For some reason, the saint is associated with the eating of snails. Thus, today is the day when true Mallorcans eat snails and many of them join in celebrations of Caragoladas or snail eating banquets. Legend has it that the eating of snails is associated with curing cough or ailments of the stomach.

Qui menja caragols per Sant Marc gaudeix de bona salut de franc

He who eats snails on Saint Marcos Day will be in good health free of charge

granja_caragols_Treu Banya

The snail eating capital of Mallorca seems to be Sineu, but Algaïda, Muro and Sant Jordi are big snail eating communities as well. Sineu is celebrating its patron’s day today, Sant Marc. I believe that the Palau dels Reis in Sineu will be open for visits today as well. Sineu is also the place where Caragols-Mallorca resides, Mallorca’s largest snail breeders. Treu Banya, another one of the three Mallorcan snail breeders, can be found in Muro. The village of Sant Jordi celebrates an annual snail race in mid-May much to the excitement of the young ones.

Caragolada Es Cruce Mallorca -4

One of the best places to eat snails in Mallorca of either the Caragol Bover (Helix aspersa) or the Viudas variety on any day of the year is the Restaurant Es Cruce between Villafranca and Manacor. Both varieties are quite distinct from the French Burgundy snail (Helix pomatia). They are served in large portions heaped in a ceramic bowl and one eats them with generous helpings of allioli (garlicky mayonnaise). Whilst on an average day Es Cruce serves some 80 kgs of snails and perhaps 400 kgs during an average weekend, today some 2,000 kgs of snails are being prepared and an estimated 5,000 kgs during the entire week. Apparently, 60 percent of the orders are take-aways. The snails are prepared in large pots with a capacity of 60 kgs. Expect to find long queues.

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