The French started eating snail eggs on a small scale in the 1980s, but the pasteurized product failed to catch on. Dominique and Sylvie Pierru revived the Caviar d'escargot (also known as Perles de France) by making it more pure and fresh in 2004. The Pieurru's have about 50,000 Gros-Gris (big grey) snails from north Africa, at their farm in Soissons, in the Picardie region north east of Paris. The company raises its snails in the open in outdoor pens on a nutritious diet of vegetation and cereal grains, resulting in plump, great tasting snails. Being hermaphrodites, all snails lay eggs, but at the slow rate of 100 a year. The eggs are conserved in a brine of fleur de sel de Guérande and essence of rosemary, before being marketed in 50g tins that cost £50 each - about the same as farmed sturgeon caviar.
The Pierru's recommend serving the caviar on a sliver of toast, at room temperature, lightly peppered with a touch of sour cream - and naturally a glass of chilled champagne. The taste – apparently - is reminiscent of ‘a walk in the forest after the rain, with the aroma of mushrooms and the undergrowth, with hints of oak leaves and moss’. People have described it has having the flavours of angelica and horseradish.