Fried snails (Chochlioi buburisti)
Snails are been consumed for thousands of years in Crete, especially in the villages near the mountains. In the Cretan dialect chochlios is snail. Snails, in this famous dish, are first boiled in salted water for 5 minutes and then in another pan fried with flour and hot olive oil for 15 minutes. Afterwards you let them fry with vinegar in the same pan for another 5 minutes. They are served with sprinkled wild rosemary.
Cretans collect the snails by hand after the rain when they come out, usually at the end of winter time. The word “buburisti” comes from the Cretan dialect. Abubura means “face down”, so it refers to the way that the snails are faced down in the frying pan.
History of snails
Snail-eating was very common amongst Greeks. Many sources from Minoan times and on refer to snails and the way people saved and cooked them. Not only was a cheap food but also very tasty. It was also allowed later on by the Orthodox Church during fasting time since it wasn’t considered to be meat.
During prehistoric period, Crete was exporting this delicious snack and in the 19th century huge amounts were exported to Egypt and Far East for the Christian population that was fasting. Snails are cooked in several ways: with marathon (a Cretan salad), with broad beans, with artichoke, with potatoes, with zucchini, with eggplants, with rice, with leeks, with wheat, even in a pie!