So you stick a pin in the shell and pull out the rubbery mollusk within? And then eat it? I was a little wary of these little guys at first, but after dipping my first one in some delicious Normande mayonnaise, I was hooked! Over a four day weekend in Normandy, I had them as an appetizer before almost every dinner. Half of the enjoyment was the novelty and fun of pulling them out of the shell one at a time, prolonging the main course anticipation and engaging in conversation with my favorite date, my fiancé. There's much more time for chatting when you have to work for your next bite. Whoever said don't play with your food? The other half of the fun was using the whelks as a vehicle for various types of delicious French mayonnaise.
My favorite place for whelks was the restaurant attached to the lovely hotel where I stayed, La Sapinière.
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A Peaceful Retreat on Omaha Beach
La Sapinière is a cozy hideaway on Omaha Beach with the friendliest of staffs and a lively restaurant filled with locals, sometimes live music, and delicious fresh seafood. My fiancé and I stayed there for three nights on our trip to Normandy and, aside from it being the perfect location so that we could step out onto Omaha Beach every morning and every night and appreciate where we were and all that we had learned that day in touring the area, it was one of the best hotels we've stayed in while in Europe. The rooms are impeccably clean, well decorated (but with no frills; after all, it is a beach resort), and comfortable. In fact, it was the largest rooms I've had this side of the Atlantic and it even had a patio area with beach chairs to enjoy the lovely Normande weather. More importantly, in my opinion, their restaurant is to die for. It's warm and homey with a fire roaring in the corner. Moreover, the food is fantastic! We stuffed ourselves every night on whelks, langoustines, mussels, and fresh French bread. We also greatly enjoyed their local cider and, of course, several desserts! Usually ones to explore the area and try as many local hang outs as possible, we couldn't pull ourselves away from this restaurant and ate here three times. If I'm lucky enough to return to Normandy, I will stay at La Sapinière again without question.
For more on my trip to Normandy: http://leaping14.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/normandy-ok-lets-go/