A British breed of rooster has beaten its French rivals to the title of most handsome cockerel in France at the annual Salon d'Agriculture farm show in Paris this week.
The French media’s consternation at the verdict was clear. “The king of the cockerels is British!” was the exclamatory headline in French daily Direct Matin on Wednesday morning.
The prize fowl, which weighs five kilos, was bred in France but is of the traditional Buff Orpington breed from southern England, renowned for its good quality meat, rich brown feathers and bright red crest.
According to Direct Matin, the bird “stole the limelight” from a selection of 54 species of fowl, which included a dashing black Crèvecoeur from Normandy and a spotted cuckoo from Rennes.
The agricultural show, which is being held at Porte de Versailles in Paris until Sunday, is one of the few in France which invites amateur breeders to enter their animals.
“Without them (amateur breeders), a dozen species would have disappeared from France 40 years ago, including the famous French rooster,” Jean-Claude Périquet, president of the French Federation of Poultry told Direct Matin.
According to Périquet, the number of hens has surged in France over the last five years: “The owners use them (chickens) to they reduce household waste because they eat everything – even meat. And on top of that they produce eggs!”
It is not the first time a Brit has triumphed in a traditional French food competition.
Earlier this month Matt Feroze, from London, was crowned France's top cheesemonger after his triumph in the National Cheesemonger Trials in Lyons.