Pearls of Aphrodite 'white caviar' captures imagination

00:26 El NACHO 0 Comments

Joan Trobalon is proud of his small patch of land in the hills above Barcelona, where lovingly-tended fruit trees and strawberry plants sit alongside lettuces, tomatoes and peppers. But his is no ordinary Spanish finca.
Pushing open the door of a large, plastic-framed barn, Mr Trobalon shows off the surprising jewel in his farming crown: pens full of slithering snails.
The animals – 6,000 of them – are kept to feed the latest gastronomic trend sweeping Europe: "white caviar", or snails' eggs. A kilo of the pearl-like eggs retails for €1,800 (£1,600), and Mr Trobalon, a former pest control expert, admits surprise that he has gone from killing snails to actively cultivating them.
"It's funny how things turn around," he said. "I used to sell 80 tonnes of chemicals a year to kill snails. And now I'm rearing them."
Chefs throughout Spain and Europe are rediscovering the highly-prized delicacy, which centuries ago starred in banquets for wealthy Romans, Egyptians and Greeks. The tiny eggs, which taste slightly earthy and are recommended marinated in herbs, are also known as "Pearls of Aphrodite" for their supposed aphrodisiac quality.