California Ban Foie Gras


On Sunday June 30, as I’m sure a few of you have heard, we’ll be saying good bye to a staple of French fare: Foie Gras. Seven years ago, animal-rights activists lobbied California law makers to pass a law banning the sale of the duck and goose liver and succeeded. That window is now shutting (hopefully for only a short period of time) at the end of the month. It won’t be illegal to have foie gras in your possession or eat the fantastically tasting item–in my opinion–but it will cost you $1,000 in fines if you violate the law and sell.

The law requires California to “prohibit a person from force-feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird’s liver beyond a normal size” and bans sales of out-of-state foie. You can still buy livers from ducks or geese that eat in a “natural” fashion, so no force-feeding. Ducks and geese naturally gorge themselves before their migration south for the winter, so in turn their livers are much larger than usual to have the energy to fly. But many chefs would agree that there is a lack of flavor without the actual force feeding.

Most of the liver that comes into California is from Hudson Valley Foie Gras in New York, but our only in-state farm is Sonoma-Aritisan Foie Gras where both farms use either the Toulouse Goose or the Mulard Duck. With the countdown to the end of the month looming, many restaurants are having various dinner pairings and special items on the menu. Here’s a little list of some the local establishments that will be having a farewell to Foie Gras.

In North County, Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe has a few different options when it comes to the liver. A Hudson Valley Foie Gras au Torchon with grilled brioche, peach chutney and a balsamic glaze and a Foie Gras and Quail Salad with wild arugula, pear, brown hazelnut butter and orange dressing are on the menu until Sunday. Along the coast but still up north both George’s California Modern and Flavor Del Mar both have appetizers with foie in the forefront. At George’s, it has a Foie Gras Mousse accompanied with coffee, pistachio, Meyer lemon with soft and wild herbs. On the menu at Flavor, a different take would be the Foie Gras Donut that comes with mango, arugula and Acacia honey.

If you’re looking for a view of Downtown San Diego and some stellar food, Bertrand at Mister A’s have you covered in that regard, but it also comes with five options to add to your meal with Foie Gras. Some examples would be the Sautéed Foie Gras BLT on ciabattini with fig jam, pickled red onion and sweet potato fries and for dessert the Sonoma Foie Gras Crème Brulee with confit kumquat and spiced ginger bread.

If you’re a fan of foie gras, then you should make it out to these restaurants for a final taste (for now) of the fowl liver. The ban could be repealed in the future. But for now, say farewell to foie gras in California.


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