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Melbourne garden snails are now producing premium escargot caviar

Snail caviar
Photograph: Supplied

Caviar has been known to fetch big bucks in the culinary world. But what if we told you that premium caviar is now being produced in our own backyard by common garden snails?  

Escargot caviar is the newest food craze to hit Melbourne. This bizarre product is produced in a small purpose-built facility in Lakes Entrance by Gippsland Pearls.

Available in Australia for the first time, each snail lays only four grams of eggs every couple of months (if conditions are right and they are content). The eggs are then collected, sorted, cleaned and processed delicately by hand. 

This peculiar product is demanding a premium price on the international market. At $300 per 40 grams, these tiny pearl eggs are second only to Beluga Caviar in cost. 

Gippsland Pearls was founded in 2018 by Cheryl Jakobi and Sara Bailey. "[Farming escargot caviar] is a very labour intensive process," Jakobi says, "but we see it as an environmentally sustainable business that can employ people, draw interest and people to the area. We can help make Lakes Entrance a destination for people to come to experience something different." 

"It’s crazy when you think about the humble garden snail producing something so super elite – but it’s great being part of the process for something so new and exciting for Australia and East Gippsland."

The pair are currently trying to get the product on the market but expect to be selling escargot caviar from their farm gate in coming months and shipping internationally within 12 months.

Farm visits are available to the public and supply from the farm gate is coming soon. Find out more about Gippsland Pearls here.

Are you a crazy foodie eating your way across Melbourne? Here are 20 must-eat Melbourne dishes. Or are you looking at things to eat, drink and see in East Gippsland? Enjoy everything it has to offer.

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