Bringing in the New Year with Foie Gras

According to Le Figaro newspaper, 3/4 of the foie gras sold in France is sold to celebrate New Years. It is the traditional holiday offering. While the French have cut back on wine drinking apparently eating foie gras is up 16 per cent from last year (at least during the holidays). After all, you have the entire year to put good intentions to practice. All the good news regarding foie gras sales arrives in spite of two setbacks in the American and Chinese markets. The practice of force feeding geese (called ‘le gavage’) has caused an American reaction including the making the sale of foie gras illegal in some places such as Chicago ( and perhaps by 2012 in California).
In China, it is not a question of posturing as saviours of geese, but healthy competition. Foie gras is now being produced outside of Shanghai with imported French geese.
Should it be the government’s role to decide about how food arrives at your table — if we begin looking at the cruel practices of slaughtering you might just as well end up being vegetarian. Not a bad thought.
One of the issues not menioned in Le Figaro article is the use of hormones to increase the livers of geese – this, of course, is just local hearsay if you happen to be in the local Perigord region – as we were staying at a bed and breakfast of a farmer who was talking about the geese farm at the bottom of the hill. We had asked about the horrid smell at the bottom of the hill. “You know they use hormones there,” are B&B host said. But this is only heresay. None of this has stopped me from enjoying foie gras. Maybe my new year’s resolution for 2007 will be to quit eating foie gras (after New Year’s until New Year’s 2008).