Ireland’s only snail farmer has encouraged people to get over their psychological aversions to the slimy snacks and tuck in.
She says that as well as being a great source of protein, eating snails can also give you a boost between the sheets.
Eva Milka runs the only snail farm in Ireland, named Gaelic Escargot. She moved to Carlow from Poland 13 years ago, and began collecting snails as a hobby before realising there was a demand and started up her business.
Eva attended the National Ploughing Championships to host some tasting sessions and drum up some interest in her product.
She said: “We conducted an extensive market research and we discovered a massive shortage of escargot meat, especially on the European market.
“When we moved here first we just kept some in our bedroom in a plastic container I never thought there would be an interest.
“Our farm is located in Garryhill in Carlow and we breed our own snails. This year alone we introduced 660,000 baby snails.
“We we can’t produce enough to satisfy the market ourselves. We export to France, Italy and Spain.
“And 99% of our snails go abroad because the Irish don’t want to eat them here. People can’t get over the psychological part.
“They’re very high in protein, low in fat but we treat them like a pest in Ireland.
“The snails are hand picked, we don’t use any machinery and we farm five tonnes a year.”
Eva explained the best way to cook snails is to boil them for several minutes before braising them in their shells for around three hours.
They can then be reheated on the pan before serving with garlic butter.
The farmer also added that eating snails has another benefit: “We all should be eating more snails, they increase your sex drive.
“I can guarantee you it’ll be an amazing success in the bedroom. Once a week it helps massively. It does wonders for every age group.”