Foie gras belongs to French culture and for French people, the debate on foie gras is sometimes difficult to understand. I really think that it is interesting to listen to non-French people giving their opinion on foie gras.
That is why I have decided to post the interview of Gemma Driver, an English gastronomic expert.
She has lived in Dordogne, she has visited farms and discussed with producers. Of course, she loves foie gras but her opinion goes a lot further. She really is a food lover, a French gastronomic expert and has a clear and moderate opinion.
To read the full interview on MyFrenchlife.org
"What is it that fascinates you about foie gras? What encouraged you to bury yourself in the ethics and production of foie gras?
I had tasted foie gras and loved it, but was aware that there were ethical issues surrounding its production. I felt guilty eating it, but this didn’t tally with seeing the foie gras ducks living free-range in fields nearby, or the locals’ view of foie gras as wholesome.
So, I decided to visit small farms and big producers to find out about the production methods and get a better understanding of why foie gras is contentious and whether I should stop supporting the industry by not eating foie gras.
I found that preconceptions of foie gras production can be inaccurate or in fact completely wrong.
Why do the French love foie gras? Why is it considered such a luxury item?
It is an extremely rich and luxurious food in terms of texture and flavour, and it is expensive to produce. The French love foie gras because it is absolutely delicious, and they view its production in a completely different way to foreigners, so their enjoyment of foie gras isn’t tainted by guilt.
Non-French people tend to think it might be cruel to produce foie gras due to force-feeding, whereas the French see it as normal to fatten an animal before slaughter.
In reality, it is somewhere in between; force-feeding is not always cruel and the birds are free-range until the last two weeks of their life, but the cages used during the last two weeks of industrial-scale production are probably very unkind.*
The French also place a lot of value on tradition, and foie gras is a very traditional luxury.
What is your favourite foie gras recipe?
It has to be seared fresh foie gras, but sometimes only buttery preserved foie gras entier hits the spot.”
*these cages will be forbidden in France the 1st January 2016. And it is a good point. (Foie Gras Gourmet opinion)