An Invisible Herd

Saveur|Summer 2019

An Invisible Herd

A farmer nostalgic for Austria’s culinary past is single-handedly trying to ensure that the snail will prevail.

Chadner Navarro

In Vienna’s 10th district, one of lush parks and simple red-brick buildings, Andreas Gugumuck tends his rows of low wood paddocks, the shadowy spaces he created in his sprawling urban garden for his snails to breed in. “It’s a paradise for them,” Gugumuck says. The farm’s calcium-rich soil and the area’s consistent rains help maintain the snails’ ideal level of humidity. This year, his farm will yield around one and a half tons of the mollusks, most of which he’s either serving at his own on-site restaurant, Wiener Schnecke (Schnecken means “snails”), or sending out to the best chefs in Austria.

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Summer 2019