The Burgundy snail, also known as "Gros blanc", is a dish eaten since time immemorial. Shells have even been found in a number of prehistoric caves. The famous and genuine Burgundy snail is Helix pomatia, a gastropod with a cream-coloured shell and light-coloured flesh, at once tender and firm. It likes to live in damp environments, undergrowth, meadows and vineyards. Gathering Burgundy snails is now regulated to ensure their protection. This is why it is forbidden to collect them when they are less than 3 centimetres in diameter and during the reproduction period, which runs from 1 April to 30 June. While a large proportion of snails are imported nowadays, Burgundian snail farmers still exist and keep the tradition alive.
A dish that is emblematic of French gastronomy, its traditional recipe as we know it today is said to have been developed in the 18th century in Bassou, in the department of Yonne. After being cooked in a court-bouillon, the snails are put back into their shells, which are then filled with a mixture of butter, garlic and parsley. The whole thing is then baked in the oven for a few minutes, just long enough for the butter to simmer.
Every year in February, the Burgundy snail is celebrated during the snail festival which takes place over a weekend in Chevigny-Saint-Sauveur in Côte-d'Or. The event includes a funfair, entertainment and tastings!