Friday, March 30, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
FoieBlog is very interested to hear the details on this high-profile development, but finds timing of the announcement, in the wake of Puck's Hepatitis Debacle, to be highly suspicious.
As Drudge would say: Developing...
Had I been a man with ambition, I would have petitioned for legislation requiring food service outlets to, at bare minimum, provide the product that is in their name - I was living in Washington, DC at the time. My organization would be called F.O.O.D., Foodies Organized and Opposed to Deception, and we would stop at nothing to bring truth in advertising to the fast-food community. Sadly, for an aimless 23 year old bridging the time between happy hour and a night on the town, this sort of civic action was not to be. So I ordered a Chicken Burrito and wrote off the incident as a once in a lifetime irony that I would soon find out makes a really dull cocktail party anecdote.
Oh how wrong I was (the part about the irony, not about people trying to avoid me at social occasions).
Flash forward 13 years and I've dragged my seven months pregnant wife to Montreal for one reason and one reason only - Au Pied De Cochon. Few restaurants - let alone one only five years old - can claim such a legendary status in a city's culinary landscape as Martin Picard's temple of comfort food and overindulgence. And surely none have so wholeheartedly given themselves over to the wonder of Foie Gras in such abundance as this bustling little eatery. I've read that Picard serves more Foie Gras every day than all the other restaurants in the Quebec province combined. If it's not true, please don't correct me because I don't want to know.
As he walked away I literally brought my hands to the side of my head and dropped it to the table in disbelief. I'd seen one come out of the kitchen a few minutes before I ordered. How could they possibly be out?
Friday, March 16, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that a group of 45 farms has filed a lawsuit against the Agriculture Ministry demanding 90 million shekels ($22 million) in damages for being forced out of business. The farmers argue that prior to the ban the government encouraged them to invest heavily in their industry, believing it to be a great export opportunity for the nation, and then left them out to dry after the ban took effect. Rather than pay outright compensation, the farmers say that government initially said it would assist them in transitioning to other products to make up for the lost business. Looks like that plan worked about as well as efforts to get Afghan opium farmers to switch to legal crops. Unfortunately for the Israeli farmers, they aren't interested in break the law and are now unemployed.
FoieBlog sees this as a cautionary tale for politicians in all nations who would try to ban Foie Gras production without considering the full impact of their actions. Anti-Foie Gras bills are usually no more than fashionable cause celebs, and politicians offhandedly vote in favor of them to score easy brownie points with the world of the wishy washy. But while localized bans in cities like Chicago probably won't put too many people out of work, statewide or national restrictions could affect a wide swath of industries in the food distribution chain - from farmers to wholesale food distributors. That means people out of work and less taxes in the state's coffers - things that one day can come back to bite you. You'll just have to take your chances that that day isn't election day.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
GG: Was your product inspired by the success of Pateria de Sousa's "Ganso Iberico," or did this come to you in a flash of inspiration?
JS: We have been working on a novel process for a couple of years as a way to complement our free range approach to raising geese under a natural environment to provide the optimal living conditions for our flocks. I only learned of Pateria de Sousa's product on 2/22/07 when a friend sent me [this article from the] Sunday Telegraph. It was great to see that others are also trying to develop alternatives to force feeding of traditional Foie Gras.
GG: How long have you been producing Natural Fatty Goose Liver?
JS: We have been harvesting geese since 1979, I first noticed the different colored liver in the early 90's on birds that we took to a later harvest date. Also, I noted not only changes in liver color as well as size and consistency occurred when using different food and nutrition content. In February of 2006, we decided to explore the differences in more detail and so we separated and monitored some trial pens of geese and actively tried to produce a liver that had a higher fatty content. The procedure is still experimental and we have attempted to do some test marketing of our method using product samples. The response to samples has been very encouraging for our unique method for producing natural Foie Gras alternative. Actually, it is surprising that others have not discovered our process but I think up until now there hasn't been much interest and what has been in the market probably was not as close to the traditional Foie Gras as ours is.
GG: How much have you produced and sold so far?
JS: As this was our first year, we have produced a small amount of different product samples for test marketing. Unfortunately, because of the seasonality of geese, it only allows an opportunity once a year to perfect our product samples.
GG: Are the geese that the fatty liver comes from raised any differently than the rest of the flock, or do you discover which ones have produced a fatty liver in the course of preparing the geese for sale?
JS: They are reared longer than the traditional flock of around 18 weeks. Because our method is proprietary I can't say much more than this, but it is important to point out that no forced feeding or containment occurs. They are raised under similar condition as the rest of the flocks.
GG: As someone who offers an alternative to traditional Foie Gras, what are your personal feelings about efforts to ban force-fed Foie Gras production and sales in the United States?
JS: My family has been in goose production since 1944. I have personally witnessed Foie Gras production in Bulgaria and Hungary and, in the early 80's, worked with a Frenchman to produce one run of a couple hundred head. I can personally attest to the fact that the goose is not very partial to the idea the first few days. Eventually they calm down (especially if the handlers are gentle) and even look forward to it, but of course they are not permitted to eat on their own any more. That process is totally different from our approach, which is meant to NOT put our animals under any stress and provide a natural environment. But personally I love to eat Foie Gras and that led us to the decision to develop an alternative method to produce Foie Gras like product without force feeding geese. Although our method will not, nor is intended to, replace the traditional method, I believe that our Late Harvest Fatty Goose Liver can be a wonderful alternative and I personally enjoy the taste and texture immensely.
Schiltz says that he believes his is the only farm currently producing this type of liver in the United States. If any of you know otherwise, please let us know. FoieBlog expects big things from this developing product and will be very surprised if it doesn’t start to catch on in the coming months.
In the meantime, check out the Schiltz farms website, http://www.roastgoose.com/, for more information on this product and let us know what you think.
And if you find yourself in New Orleans any time soon, drop by the The Delachaise on St. Charles Avenue, where Chef Chris DeBarr, renowned for his work with pates, has been pioneering the use of Schiltz’ Natural Fatty Goose Liver along with other products from Schiltz Goose Farms.
The Crescent City is one of FoieBlog’s favorite gastronaut destinations and we will be sure to check it out ourselves the next time we head for the bayou. Guarantee.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
That said, we're back in business, and it's been a busy couple of weeks in the world of Foie Gras. Please bear with us as we play catch up on the most important developments of recent days. First and foremost...
Moore To Face More Votes
As much as FoieBlog hated missing the Chicago Aldermanic elections, we're very please that the finale is yet to come.
On a night when pro-mayor Daley incumbents were soundly defeated by their labor-backed challengers, 49th Ward Alderman, Joe Moore, a favorite of the unions for his support of a big-box minimum wage bill, came up 1% short of being elected outright and now faces a runoff on April 17th. That he was not able to win against a slate of 3 challengers splitting the opposition vote speaks volumes about his waning popularity in a district he has represented for 16 years. Besting his closest rival, Don Gordon, by a margin of 49%-29%, Moore must now face Gordon mano a mano in the runoff elections next month. With the opposition able to consolidate their support behind Gordon, the possibility of a Moore defeat is well within reach.
FoieBlog realizes this election is about many issues beyond Moore's Foie Gras ban, but Gordon and others have managed to portray that legislation as an example of how out of touch Moore has become with the more pressing concerns of his constituency, such as jobs and crime. FoieBlog looks forward to a month of spirited campaigning for this symbolically important seat.