Lumache- Babaluci



The Patron Saint of Palermo is Saint Rosalie. From July 13th to July 15th,.the Saint is celebrated with a festival called Il Festino, la Grande Festa. For the duration of the Festino, in the street of Palermo, you can smell the odor of wild fennel, and in fact, pasta with sardines and fennel is rigorously prepared in every household, including babaluci, little snails.  

During the Festino, it is customary to take walks at Foro Italico, also known as la Marina, a vast area by the sea, where a big and spectacular firework show is displayed and, for the occasion, a large number of kiosks are built where street vendors display and sell their merchandise and food. 

Along with all the characteristic street food, babaluci, snails are offered and consumed in large quantities. Babaluci are sold in little dishes and eaten while walking around. 

The babaluci are favorites not only for the intense taste and for the strong flavor of garlic and parsley but also because they are inseparably associated with the Festino. 

Snails are cooked all over Sicily, most of the time with simple recipes: garlic and oil or with the addition of tomato sauce. 



Stand selling live babaluci 

Please Note: 

Live snails cannot be imported into the United States for human
consumption. Cooked
,  frozen or otherwise processed snails may be imported
for this purpose. Find details at:

USDA - APHIS - Plant Health, Plant Protection and Quarantine  


  Cooking the Snails

Serves 4 to 6 



  • 2 lb live snails 
  • Few slices of bread 
  • 1 cup vinegar 
  • 1 laurel leaf 
  • Salt 




Preparation of the Snails 

Place snails in a colander and briefly rinse under running water. Drain for a few minutes. Then, place the snails in a cardboard box with a few slices of barely soaked bread in water. Cover with a rag or with a piece of cheese cloth, tied all around so that the snails will not escape but can still get fresh air. 

Keep in the box for 4 days; sprinkle the snails with ¼ cup of water every day. 

After 4 days, rinse the snails in running water a few times. Then, make a solution of cold water, a few tablespoons of vinegar and salt and place the snails into it, turning occasionally. The water will make whitish foam. Remove snails with a slotted spoon, discard the water and repeat the process until the water does not produce foam. 

Place the snails in a pot with cover and mix with coarse salt to make them expel any impurities; cover and put a weight on top of the cover so the snails will not escape. 

After 30 minutes, rinse them thoroughly with running water. The snails are ready to be boiled. 

Boiling the Snails 

Place the snails and the laurel leaf into a heavy pot, cover with enough lightly salted cold water, about 1 inch above the snails, and cook covered at low heat. When the snails start to come out of their shells, increase the heat to high and boil the snails for 20 minutes. 

Remove the snails with a slotted spoon and briefly rinse. Now, they are ready to be used in your preferred recipe. 


To prepare Babaluci Palermo Style, the following ingredients are needed: 

  • 1 portion of boiled snails (2 lb)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
  • Bunch of parsley, chopped 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Babaluci- Lumache- Snails

Pour the oil in a large pot, lightly fry the garlic and parsley, add the snails and salt and pepper to taste; sauté a few minutes mixing occasionally. Serve warm or at room temperature.  


To prepare “Babaluci Pic-Pac” the following ingredients are needed:

  • 1 portion of boiled snails (2 lb)
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil  
  • 1 medium chopped onion   
  • 2 cloves of garlic slightly crushed   
  • 1 cup of crushed tomatoes  
  • A pinch of oregano  
  • Salt and pepper to taste  
  • Few leaves of basil for garnish  

 Babaluci a pic-pac


At a high heat, in a large saucepan, place the onions and oil and sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. 

Reduce heat to medium; add the garlic and sauté until the onions are golden, stirring constantly. 

Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and oregano and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. 

Combine the snails with the sauce and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Place babaluci in a serving dish, garnish with basil and serve warm or at room temperature.  


To prepare Babaluci Salad, the following ingredients are needed: 

  • 1 portion of boiled snails (2 lb)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil   
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped   
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar   
  • Bunch of parsley, chopped   
  • Salt and pepper to taste   

Babaluci all'aglio


Drain the snails well and place in a serving dish; add the olive oil, garlic, vinegar, parsley and salt and pepper to taste and mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Let rest for 1 hour to marinate. Serve at room temperature.