Along with frogs’ legs, snails, especially the classic Burgundian escargots à la bourguignonne (oven roasted with garlic, butter and parsley), is one of those dishes that seem soooo French to many anglophones.
Escargots à la bourguignonne was invented in 1796 by Père Vallée, an inn keeper in Bassou in the Yonne. The dish earned its medal of honour when Talleyrand’s great Burgundian chef Marie-Antoine Carême prepared it for Tzar Alexander I of Russia in 1814. Escargots à la bourguignonne have been featured since 1832 at one of Paris’s oldest restaurants, Escargot Montorgueil.
Other names for snails are lumas in Poitou and cagouilles in the Charente.
Nobody is sure how this got started. Probably a couple of French master chefs were standing around one day, and they found a snail, and one of them said: 'I bet that if we called this something like "escargot," tourists would eat it.' They they had a hearty laugh, because 'escargot' is the French word for 'fat crawling bag of phlegm.'" Dave Barry, Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need (1991)
Images by Arnaud 25, DEFI-Écologique, CC BY-SA 4.0, de jaeger Caviar d'escargot