Snails Heliciculturist Gastronomy Râches Douaisis Northern France (c)Douaisis TourismeSnails Heliciculturist Gastronomy Râches Douaisis Northern France (c)Douaisis Tourisme
©Snails Heliciculturist Gastronomy Râches Douaisis Northern France (c)Douaisis Tourisme
He raises snails in the land of the frogs

The snail farm in Douai run by a British guy

A milkman turned snail farmer. A British man has settled in France to raise snails. A dish that is apparently rarely appreciated by the British and yet…


at the head of thousands of snails

Today, Michael is at the head of an escargatoire of over 300,000 snails. One might more usually imagine this British man raising sheep in central France, but he has set his sights on snails.


A former Kent milkman now a snail breeder


Michael Collins has always worked in the food industry. At the age of eleven, he worked as a milkman in Kent, then ran a chip shop, a pub, and a chain of greengrocers. His French studies took him to Angers and in 2000 he moved to Lille. His first job in France naturally led him towards languages. However, with more than 50 cookery books in his library and his innate curiosity, he found his way…

A diploma in snail farming

Visiting his French in-laws, he regularly dropped in at a snail breeder and took his turn at the stove. Moving on to Besançon he left with a diploma in snail farming. And then found his ideal plot of land in Râches, near Douai. His companions today are ‘le gros gris’ – big grey snails – that he raises with the help of his dog, Wander, and his ferrets. All now living in harmony, the ferrets being bred to hunt the dreaded snail predator: the rat.

We first encounter the snails – which can each lay 200 eggs – in an incubator. The eggs are pampered in an atmosphere of 95% humidity and when 300 degrees Celsius is reached they hatch. Afterwards, the snails are truly free range and are free to roam the outdoor park and enjoy a peaceful day.

Try the snail Tikka Masala

However, Michael then gets out his cooking utensils and is not short of creativity. Of course, there is the classic dozen with garlic butter, but curiosity should lead you to try other flavours: Roquefort and walnuts, feta and tomato, truffle… And even this very British recipe, a take on the most popular dish in Great Britain: the snail tikka masala. The boss may be British, but these little snails are still very much French. Surely, they drive on the right?


Your will find Michael Collins and his snail farm at:

Escargots Fermiers Raches
1815 Rue Nationale, 59194 Râches
06 75 82 73 03

Venez nous rencontrer !

à 30 minutes de Lille

3 hours from London

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