National Escargot Day is celebrated on May 24th of each year. Escargot is a dish of cooked land snails, usually served as an appetizer in France and in French restaurants. The word is also sometimes applied to the living snails of those species which are commonly eaten in this way.
Escargot, IPA: [ɛs.kaʁ.ɡo], is the French word for snail. It is related to Occitan escagaròl and Catalan cargol, which, in turn, may derive from a pre-Roman word *karakauseli. Similarly, Spanish and Portuguese use the term caracol.
Not all species of land snail are equally edible, and many are too small to make it worthwhile to prepare and cook them. Even among the edible species, the palatability of the flesh varies from species to species. In France, the species Helix pomatia is most often eaten. The “petit-gris” Helix aspersa is also eaten, as is Helix lucorum. Several additional species, such as Elona quimperiana, are popular in Europe; see heliciculture.