FoieBlog is sorry to say that we missed the CNN/YouTube debate. Not due to a scheduling conflict, but to avoid watching that idiotic snowman complaining about global warming. Duh.
Still we are fans of the website, and forever in debt to the folks at FoodTVBlog for posting Janet Street Porter's report on Foie Gras which aired on Gordon Ramsay's "The F-Word" a few weeks ago. (Until you kids start clicking on those ads, we'll never be able to upgrade our cable to include BBC and see these things first run!)
In the piece, Porter goes on a quest to find an "ethical" alternative to Foie Gras for Ramsay's restaurants, and makes her way to Pateria de Sousa in Badajoz, Spain to sample Ganso Iberico. On the way, she stops at a traditional, but unnamed, Foie Gras farm in France. There, she witnesses gavage first-hand and doesn't enjoy it too much, even though the ducks look to be very healthy. Of course she shows one pen that appears - out of context - to be avoiding the farmer and the feeding tube, but you'd expect such drama from a Gordon Ramsay production. She never tries the Foie Gras.
Pateria de Sousa, on the other hand, comes off as a luxury resort for geese. One big all-you-can-eat grassy hillside. Porter has no issues here and gives the Ganso Iberico it a try, enjoying it enough to recommend to Ramsay.
Unfortunately, the video ends here, but we understand that the show continues with Porter bringing some back for Ramsey to see if it's a worthy alternative to Foie Gras. One look at the current menus of his restaurants will answer that question for you.
It's always hard to tell if Porter truly goes into these projects cold, or merely plays the role of a nave, though we suspect the latter is the case. People in TV don't often do things blindly - believe us, we know.
In any case, it's hard for our jaundiced eyes to judge what kind of affect this story would have on the truly uninitiated viewer. Sure, some people are just never going to be able to stomach (sorry) seeing those tubes inserted into the ducks, but they otherwise look to be in a pretty good situation, and you know that cute old French couple are taking good care of them - they're straight out of the book of French stereotypes, sans the Gauloises.
FoieBlog expects it will be some time before Ganso Iberico makes it to this side of the pond, and GrasGuy dropped the ball last year when he was travelling in Andalucia, not far from Badajoz. Still, we look forward to trying it as soon as possible, so if you hear about any heading this way, or get a taste yourself, please drop us a line.
Though we suspect we'll side with Gordon.