In the countdown to what’s being called foie-mageddon in California, restaurants and consumers alike are gorging on their last foie gras-laced supper before a state-wide ban kicks in July 1.
Despite high profile campaigns mounted by some of the country’s best known chefs to repeal the ban, all indications are that California residents will no longer be able to tuck into the fattened duck liver in less than two weeks’ time.
The result? Foie gras has become forbidden fruit, and like many of the things we can’t have in life, consumers are going on foie gras benders, including those who have never tried it or had any inclination for it.
In the lead-up to the ban, major foodie events have dedicated entire dinners to the rich, buttery duck liver, making it the star of multi-course meals, while some restaurants are also offering whole menus focused on foie gras.
Michelin-starred French restaurant Mélisse, for example, is currently offering a “Foie for All” menu, an 8-course meal that includes foie gras royale, a blackberry gelee and caramelized buttermilk mousse, and foie gras and dover sole with corn pudding, chanterelle mushrooms and brown butter. The foie feast costs $185.
In April, chefs opposed to the ban prepared a decadent lunch menu dubbed “Farewell to Foie Gras” at the popular Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival, pairing everything from oysters, lobster and squab to Tahitian vanilla crème brulée with the duck liver.
Meanwhile, Mirepoix USA, a purveyor who moved from California to neighboring Nevada to continue operations, is also hosting a foie and wine tasting event serving foie gras ice cream on ginger snaps with balsamic vinegar and seared foie gras sandwich with duck bacon, spicy tomato jam and pea shoots.
Restaurants, purveyors and producers were given eight years to comply with the new law, first introduced in 2004 and heavily influenced by animal rights groups.