Israel risks French ire with ban on foie gras

It may be a much-loved delicacy in France but Israel looks set to become a foie gras free country after lawmakers adopted a bill banning the importation and sale of livers of animals that have been “tortured”.

Israel risks French ire with ban on foie gras
Foie Gras: Kent Wang/Flickr

Foie gras, a traditional type of French delicacy made from the livers of force-fed ducks or geese is not such a delicacy in Israel, it would seem.

The Knesset, the legislative branch of the Israeli government has now adopted a law “banning the importation and the selling of the livers of animals which have been tortured”.

In other words, according to France's Le point news site, it means a ban on bringing foie gras into the country with the aim of selling it.

It appears to be the final nail in the coffin for the controversial pâté in Israel.

Already in 2003, the Israeli High Court declared that the practice of force-feeding – or “gavage” as it is known in France – was contrary to animal protection laws, leading to a ban of the production of foie gras on Israeli soil.

Up until then, Israel was the fourth producer of foie gras in the world, reports Le Point, worth a total of $16.5 million and 500 jobs.

“I’m very proud of being in the Knesset which chose to place values before interests and futile pleasures,” said Dov Lipman, a deputy for the Yesh Atid centrist party.

“I believe that this law will benefit, not only animals, but also the image of Israel. The time has come to ban Israel from this food that corrupts minds.”

For Israelis who really can’t do without the food, there’s no need to panic, however. The ban does not cover personal consumption. So as long as you buy the foie gras abroad you are free to bring it back in small amounts to consume as and when you please.

Last July, the State of California officially banned the production, selling and consumption of foie gras, much to the wrath of French producers.

The ban had been written into state law seven years ago but local producers had been allowed a “period of grace” before the ban was made official.

The production of foie gras is already banned in several countries including the UK and Turkey.

In October 2012 a group of European MPs also riled France when they called for an EU-wide ban on the production and sale of foie gras.

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Five of France’s new Michelin foodie hotspots

As Michelin publishes its 2022 guide, here are five of the most exciting new entries into the hallowed 'bible' of French gastronomy.

Five of France's new Michelin foodie hotspots

Here are five must-visit venues of gastronomic delight for food lovers.

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Plénitude – Paris

It’s only been open seven months, but the Paris restaurant – on the first floor of Cheval Blanc Paris – now has three stars, awarded to chef Arnaud Donckele in Cognac on Tuesday. Picking up three stars all at once is almost unheard of – only Yannick Alléno achieved the same feat in 2015 with the Pavillon Ledoyen in the 8th arrondissement.

Broths, vinaigrettes, creams, veloutés, juices are at the heart of the cuisine at Plénitude. A seasonal six-course Symphony Menu costs €395, while the Sail Away Together menu of three savoury dishes and one sweet is €320.

La Villa Madie – Cassis, Bouches-du-Rhône

Another new three-star venue listed in this year’s guide came as something of a surprise, by all accounts. Dimitri and Marielle Droisneau’s restaurant in the south of France overlooks the Mediterranean.

“We took this house nine years ago. We had a baby, we have a second one now. We live in the villa. We work in a paradise,” chef Dimitri said at the ceremony in Cognac.

The cuisine follows the seasons, and uses carefully selected local produce. As such, the menu changes daily according to what’s available. The Menu Anse de Corton – a starter, a fish course, a meat course, and a sweet treat – costs €130, while the six-course Menu Espasado “Cap Canaille” is €180.

Plaza Athénée – Paris

Top Chef series three winner Jean Imbert was one of a number of former contestants on the show to win a star for his restaurant in the palace le Plaza Athénée – with the jury praising his “impressive revival of the greatest classics of French gastronomy”.

Guillaume Pape – a finalist in series 10, also picked up his first star for  L’Ebrum, in Brest; as did series nine finalist Victor Mercier, for FIEF in the ninth arrondissement, honoured for producing “empowering cuisine, made exclusively using French produce”. Mercier was also named Young Chef of the Year.

The self-titled Menu de Jean at Plaza Athénée costs €296

Villa La Coste – Bouches-du-Rhône

Continuing the Top Chef theme, judge Hélène Darroze – who already runs the three-star Hélène Darroze at The Connaught in London – was awarded a star for her restaurant in the south of France, as was fellow-judge Philippe Etchebest for his latest venture in Bordeaux.

Local vegetables and fruit are the stars of the dining show at Villa La Coste, with meat and fish playing an accompanying role. A three-course lunch menu is €75, while a full dinner menu is €155.

Domaine Riberach: La Coopérative – Bélesta, Ariège 

One of six new restaurants to be awarded a Green Star for its seasonal food and it’s determined approach to ‘sustainable gastronomy’. This year’s six Green Star winners join 81 establishments which received the award last year in France.

“Slow food” is the order of the day, with menus created based – as is often the case – on the seasons, the market and chef Julien Montassié’s instinct. The chief rule is that food must be local – “0 km is our motto”, boasts the website.

The six-course Menu Latitude is €85 without wine. A three-course Menu Km0 is €49 – and a children’s two-course menu is €18.