• France's news in English

French cows reared on a diet of Normandy cider

Joshua Melvin · 18 Feb 2014, 16:49

Published: 18 Feb 2014 16:49 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

For years the Japanese have been feeding Wagyu cows beer and giving them massages in order to produce the superior Kobé beef steak. Now a French farmer is doing the same, but in a slightly more Gallic Way.

A small subset of the herd at François-Xavier Craquelin’s family farm in the tiny Normandy hamlet of Villequier, northern France have been getting the royal treatment. Peaceful classical music is being piped into the barn, their flanks massaged by electric scrub brushes and the pièce de résistance -  barrels of local, organic apple cider on tap.

"It's an original project but it is coherant and their diet is balanced. There is no GM products used," Craquelin told The Local.

“I give them 150 litres of cider four months before they go to the slaughterhouse. For a cow that weighs almost a tonne, that’s the equivalent of 1.5 litres for a human," the farmer told AFP

The idea of giving booze to cows is not completely unheard of in France. Cattle farmers in France and Spain have been known to feed their cows some of their renowned wine production. But the idea of giving the herd a helping of cider is new.

Serving up buckets of cider is designed to create a more tender morsel of beef. The alcohol is believed to spread fat into the muscular portions of the cow and improve the marbling. The delicate and proper balance between meat and fat is what gives richness and flavour to the beef.

Craquelin, who plans to call the product "boeuf cidré", says it will be the top end of what he produces. He doesn’t plan on raising more than 15 cows at a time on the cider diet, out of the hundred or so on the farm.

Craquelin told The Local that project would remain small scale and the "boeuf cidré" (cider beef) will mainly be sold to local restaurants in the Seine Maritime department.

The first cider steaks should hit the tables of Normandy eateries in March, though due to the limited quantity it’ll all be gone this year by May. Craquelin told The Local he had had contact with the famous urestaurant on the Champs Elysée in Paris, but no orders had yet been taken. 

"If Parisians want to taste bouef cidré they need to get in their car and drive up to Normandy," Craquelin said. "It's not far."

Some restaurants were already looking forward to the arrival of the choice cuts.

"It’s a good product, with good marbling (fat inside the meat)," Normandy restaurant owner Christopje Maudit told AFP.

For more information on which restaurants will serving up "boeuf cidre" contact info@grosdoit.fr

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France’s 'Jungle' children arrive in UK
Authorities will start to clear the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp on Monday. Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP file picture

The first group of children from the French "Jungle" migrant camp with no connection to Britain have arrived in the country, the Home Office said Sunday, ahead of the camp's planned demolition.

French FM calls for end to Aleppo 'massacre'
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says the international community cannot ‘come to a negotiation under the bombs’. Photo: Dominick Reuter / AFP file picture

France's foreign minister urged the international community to "do everything" to end the "massacre" in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday after fighting resumed following a 72-hour truce declared by Damascus ally Russia.

French cheer police, reviving Charlie spirit
French police officers on Saturday demonstrated for the fifth night in a row to protest mounting attacks on officers. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

Angry French police have taken to the streets for five nights in a row -- and Parisians have started to cheer them on, reviving scenes last seen following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015.

Scarlett Johansson turns popcorn girl in Paris
US actress Scarlett Johansson greets customers at the Yummy Pop gourmet popcorn shop in the Marais district of Paris. Photo: Benjamin Cremel / AFP

Hollywood superstar Scarlett Johansson swapped the red carpet for a turn behind the counter at her new popcorn shop in Paris on Saturday.

US couple donates huge art collection to Paris
Marlene (centre) and Spencer (right) are donating their collection ‘for the benefit of art lovers’. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

A Texan couple who discovered their love for art during a trip to Paris in the 1970s are to donate the multi-million dollar collection they have amassed since to the French capital.

France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available