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Snails are an integral part of French culinary history. They have been eaten here, and in many other European countries since prehistoric times. Roasted snail shells have even been discovered on archeological digs in ancient troglodyte dwellings. Although widely consumed throughout much of Europe, it is the French we most associate with this type of food. They manage to guzzle in the region of 35 000 tonnes per annum. Before moving to France I had eaten snails many times but aside from the novelty factor they were always something of a disappointment, little more than a small piece of meat tasting mainly of butter and garlic.