Foie Gras Under Attack In the US
In the heart of California’s wine country, a team of entrepreneurs has recently opened a little bistro. Sonoma Saveurs has made news headlines not only for its new concept and the quality of its products, but also for the political heated reaction over the main product it promotes, foie gras.
Senator John Burton of California wants to introduce a bill that bans the sale or production of foie gras and impose heavy fines for violators. Foie gras would be pulled from menus and the sole West Coast supplier, Sonoma Foie Gras, could be put out of business if the bill passes. It is a response to calls from animal rights groups that say ducks suffer unnecessarily from the force-feeding method used to enlarge their livers before slaughter.
Foie gras, translated literally as fat liver, has been a delicacy for over 4500 years. Eygptians enjoyed it during celebrations and the Romans perfected the art of "gavage" or force- feeding geese. They force-fed their geese figs to obtain their foie gras, but today corn is the preferred food. Two areas in France are famous for their foie gras: Gascony and Alsace.
Jewish immigrants introduced geese to Alsace and served goose on their feast days as an alternative to the pork, which was common fare in the area. The first pâté de foie gras is believed to have been cooked in 1870. A pastry chef in the service of the Maréchal de Contades, encircled foie gras in dough and served it a reception. From that date, Strasbourg and foie gras have been linked, and many consider Strasbourgian foie gras the best in the world.
Duck and goose foie gras have always been considered a rare delicacy and it usually reserved for special occasions. Traditional accompaniments of truffles and aspic have gone somewhat out of favor and it is now more commonly served with lightly toasted farmhouse bread, which enhances the flavor.
Sonoma Saveurs is a new venture combining the talents and experience of the owner of Sonoma Foie Gras, a foie gras producer, a French entrepreneur and a chef. Sonoma Foie Gras is one of only three foie-gras producers in the United States and the only one on the West Coast
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