Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Foie gras is back at Jardiniere

SF Chronicle, August 2003, following attacks on chef Laurent Manrique of Aqua:
Jardiniere's Traci Des Jardins ... said she will discontinue her signature foie gras and see how customers respond. Although she, like many chefs, wonders if her restaurant will be the next target, Des Jardins says her decision is not about fear. Ever since she visited a foie gras farm in 1995, Des Jardins said she's been "haunted by the image of those ducks."
Jardiniere menu, November 2007:
Liberty Farms Duck Breast,
Fuyu Persimmon, Chestnuts and Foie Gras Beignet, Huckleberry Jus
Emeritus Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, California 2005
And from the Jardiniere New Year's Eve menu (PDF) for later this year:

Terrine of Foie Gras
Ginger Gelée and Toasted
Prum Riesling Auslese “Wehlener
Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany 1997

Jardinier's opera-loving customers, it would appear, are quite fond of foie gras, and not particularly concerned with Traci Des Jardins' traumatic, terrifying nightmares.

Tough crowd!

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

More faux gras

I posted in November about a South Dakota farmer who has these geese who like to indulge themselves, so much so their livers naturally turn to foie gras without the usual tube down the throat, which some people find cruel and others have no problem with for various well-considered reasons.

Derrick at Obsession with Food spotted a similar force-feeding-free foie gras out of a farm in Spain, which won an award at the Paris International Food Salon.

Derrick is skeptical about the quality, like some of the people in my original post, and notes that people haven't accepted this stuff as foie gras for the couple of hundred years it's been available.

He also notes some practical issues with using Geese as opposed to ducks:
You can't artificially inseminate them, so a farmer can only sell fresh foie gras during the winter season, when Spring's goslings have come of age. And they stress more readily than ducks. When the stoic Mulard breed came on the scene in the 1970s, it transformed the industry overnight. Fifty years ago, 90 per cent of the birds for foie gras were geese. Today, only 20 per cent are.

Still waiting for this stuff to show up on an SF menu.

Derrick's post: Foie Gras Without Force-Feeding?

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Faux gras

A goose farmer in South Dakota wants to sell a foie gras substitute next year. The stuff would be made from older geese that -- get this -- decide, with their cut little independent goose brains, to gorge themselves. As opposed to having a farmer pour the feed down the animal's throat, a traditional technique that some people believe is cruel.

"Some choose to eat more than others," farmer Jim Schlitz tells Business 2.0 magazine, which has the story in its November issue, but not online.

Schlitz is setting aside 10,000 of his 250,000 geese this season to live longer, which makes their livers fattier. He's also betting that many will pig out on abundant feed.

Then he'll divide the faux gras into several "grades" and, pending USDA labeling approval, put the stuff on the market next year.

Chef Jeffrey Trujullio, who runs a restaurant in New York state, says "it's not the same as $30-a-pound Hudson Valley of French foie gras -- it's not fatty enough," but thinks it's good enough to change the business.

Restaurant consultant (and Covers Best Friends Forever) Clark Wolf disagrees:
A foie gras substitute would not have the same status. And the restaurant industry ... will find other things to play with ... like truffles or oysters.
Completely random aside: Schlitz is also the name of a beer that began as a reasonable facsimile of a European product but ran itself into the ground by becoming progressively cheaper and thus more American.

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