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Where can I buy canned escargots in Toronto?

And what is better to cook with, canned or fresh? (I did see fresh "periwinkles" at Diana's Seafood a month or so back.)

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  1. Although I believe fresh is always best (for any time of food), the canned escargots are easier as they are already tender. The fresh ones require initial cooking (e.g. in a broth of some sort?) to soften them up before a final preparation (e.g. bake, saute, etc.).

    I could be mistaken but I believe I saw canned escargots at Loblaws (Leslie/Lakeshore) in the "canned seafood" section, where the canned fish are found.

    As for fresh seafood, you would have to contact the specialty seafood shops to check for availability. Fresh escargots are probably not available year round. Perhaps you can also special order them from Diana's or Bill's Lobsters (on Gerrard St. East, in east Chinatown).

    Both Bill's Lobsters and large Asian supermarkets like T&T and Big Land often carry fresh snails which are smaller than the ones served at restaurants. Since I'm not a snail expert, I don't know if the smaller ones qualify as "escargots".

    I think I've seen frozen larger snails which look like escargots (although they may be labeled another non-French name) at Asian supermarkets.

    Good luck with your search for snails!

    1. Oops! I meant to say "...for any KIND of food" in my opening sentence (not "...for any TIME of food")

      Sorry about the typo!

      2 Replies
      1. re: DishyDiva

        Hey dishydiva, if you hit edit at the bottom of your original post you have up to 2 hours to make any necessary corrections or changes.

        1. re: millygirl

          Thanks, millygirl! The newbie here that I am, I couldn't see the Edit option -- definitely handy for someone like me, the worst typist in the world. :-)

      2. Try Mike's Fish off N. Queen in Etobicoke for periwinkles.

        1. In Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook he says that he doesn't know of any resto that actually uses fresh and suggests the canned ones...I love escargots and when I have made them at home they have been as good as any I had in Europe and I just used canned...maybe size is the only variable?...to better ensure quality, you could find them at places like Cheese Boutique and the like...though they will certainly cost a bit more...

          3 Replies
          1. re: Recyclor

            Yes, I have heard that from those who work in restaurants in Toronto, as well, which is why I thought it might be a wee bit easier to do them at home with canned, if that's what restaurants use, anyway. Do you think the ones available at CB would be any better quality than the ones at Loblaws?

            1. re: Full tummy

              Honestly Ft, they might be the same but come with a french label, though in this case, I would probally opt for the better seeming ones (imported from France, or southern Germany) since the extra few dollars would be worth it if serving guests and they were better, like I said the difference might just be size, I have seen some pretty puny ones in cans before...please post your findings, I would like to know for the future aswell...Oh, and please call CB before you go, I THINK they would have them...

              1. re: Recyclor

                Thanks, and I'll post back on my findings.

          2. Canned escargots are available at just about any Loblaws.

            1. Canned vs. Fresh... I can't detect a difference in taste.

              If you go for canned, they have very inexpensive canned escargots (the same brand Loblaws carries) at Food Basics grocery store. (less than $2)

              I've had them before (as they are on my 'student canned- goods rotation circuit.'- when I can't make a proper meal) and they taste like yummy snails to me :)

              1 Reply
              1. re: sugarcube

                Thanks! Maybe it's worth buying some different types (if available) and having a taste-off.

              2. Hey all, just an update...I was at a Dominion (Liberty Village) tonite and rolled by the canned snails, they don't carry fresh, they had 3 options, 2 were seemingly the same, at about $2 for a small tin with 36-42 inside, those would be pretty small, and the other tin was under $3 for 24-28, i just noticed these ones are from Indonesia...I got the latter on a whim, will let ya know if they are any good...

                3 Replies
                1. re: Recyclor

                  Thanks! Are they with the canned fish?

                  1. re: Full tummy

                    Yup, under the tuna by smoked oysters and stuff...

                    1. re: Recyclor

                      Got some tonight in Loblaws. Will try them and report back.

                2. Just reporting back.

                  I bought several cans of encore Escargots, 24-28 count and net weight 200g. These escargots were the same as the ones I've had at Batifole, I think. At least, they tasted pretty much the same, and they were perhaps even plumper. I made a sauce of butter, shallots, garlic, white wine, tarragon, nutmeg, and whipping cream, then heated up the escargots in the sauce. Magnifique! I encourage all escargots afficionados to give it a try and save some $$$. One of the simplest dishes to prepare. Honestly!