Spanish foie gras awarded the Coup de Coeur by the Paris Int

Not a big fan of foie gras…until now…heh heh heh…
(maybe this should also be in the “Animals” thread)

[quote]French are in a flap as Spanish force the issue over foie gras
Graham Keeley in Barcelona

Feathers are flying in the foie gras industry after a Spanish company scooped the industry’s top award for the Gallic delicacy.

Patería de Sousa was awarded the Coup de Coeur by the Paris International Food Salon for innovation.

Yet it is precisely its innovative techniques that have set French foie gras makers in a flutter. They claim that the Spanish version of the goose liver extract is not foie gras at all and have demanded the prize is withdrawn.

Patería de Sousa prides itself on not fattening the bird’s liver by force-feeding, but instead the foie gras is made by “free-range” feeding of the birds.

Connoisseurs consider foie gras to be the epitome of culinary civilisation. Animal rights activists criticise the practice of force-feeding a duck or a goose for four weeks before they are slaughtered, claiming that it is cruel. Producers say that they fatten the birds’ livers to add flavour to the foie gras.

Marie-Pierre Pée, secretary-general of the French Professional Committee of Foie Gras Producers, condemned the Sousa version of the luxury paste: “This cannot be called foie gras because it is strictly defined as a product from an animal which has been fattened,” he said.

Eduardo Sousa, president of the Spanish company, which is based in Badajoz, was unabashed by the French criticism: “It’s normal that they have asked for their prize back because they are scared.

“We have won a prize in Paris where the jury has given (the French) a clip round the ears because we have shown that you can make a good foie gras without mistreating the animals.”

A 90g can of Patería de Sousa foie gras sells for €23 (£15.40) and is sold at the El Corte Inglés department store chain among other leading shops in Spain.

It is not exported to France.

Patería de Sousa produces its foie gras by slaughtering the birds just when they have eaten more in preparation for their normal migration to Africa in the winter. Mr Sousa believes that the French reaction to his company was due to a growing recognition that the Spanish method was gaining ground in the industry.

He said: “Foie gras is fattened liver and that’s what we sell. Many countries are going to ban the practice of artificially fattening these birds and the French are worried about this.”

The Egyptians invented the practice, subsequently adopted in France, of force-feeding ducks and geese to produce a better taste for the liver extract.

Foie gras companies force the birds to ingest grain at regular intervals each day through a metal tube that goes down the throat to the birds’ stomachs.


France produces three quarters of the world’s foie gras

French production this year was 18,500 tonnes, a rise of 3 per cent compared with 2005

France exported 3,000 tonnes, 800 to Spain

Other leading importers, in order of quantity of the product sold, are Switzerland, Japan, Belgium, Germany, Britain and the United States

France imports 3,500 tonnes of foie gras, mainly from Hungary and Bulgaria … 46,00.html[/quote]