And c'est illégal
. As it was in December 1997
IN a darkened room one evening this month in
Bordeaux, many of the world's most famous chefs and restaurateurs sat
with napkins over their heads and faces. The crunching sounds from under
the napkins was unmistakable: the guests were eating.
secrecy, they were chewing the skin, flesh, bones and entrails of one of
France's greatest delicacies, the ortolan, a tiny songbird whose
declining numbers led the French Government to forbid its sale anywhere
in the country. The napkins are part of the ritual, as is the method of
eating the bird: it is held by its head and devoured in a single bite.
secret did not keep. Though the chef who served the birds denies he
served it, five of that evening's 120 diners, some of whom had eaten
ortolan before, acknowledged that they had it on this occasion and
described in detail the thrill of the gustatory experience -- an
experience that, come autumn each year, some French find irresistible.
know the French,'' said Maguy Le Coze, a Frenchwoman who owns Le
Bernardin in New York and was at the dinner in Bordeaux. ''French people
like to break the law.''
Or, seek a waiver--like so many unionists with Obamacare
--for their dining pleasure
Four French chefs are requesting a
waiver to serve a long-banned delicacy - a small songbird called the
ortolan that fans including late President Francois Mitterrand used to
devour, bones and all, while wearing a napkin over their heads.
The request for the once-a-year waiver is being lodged among
others by Alain Ducasse, the internationally acclaimed chef with a top
3-star rating from the Michelin gourmet dining guide, Le Parisien
....Said to have been part of Mitterrand's last meal before he died
in 1996, one customary French way of preparing ortolan consists of
force-feeding it until fat and dousing it in Armagnac alcohol before
roasting it whole in the oven.
, what they seek (to eat).
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