Foie Gras Festival starts Today

foie gras

From Boundary Road:

“14 restaurants will participate in the Winter Foie Fest, which runs January 13th-20th, 2016. This will be the largest festival in the three-year history of the event, and the first year that restaurants located outside the H Street corridor will participate.

Full list of participating restaurants:

Restaurants will create and offer a foie-centric dish as a menu special for the duration of the competition, such as chicory Chai-rubbed foie gras with smoked pear french toast and poached persimmons (Boundary Road), pan seared foie gras with black pepper waffles and apple butter (Beuchert’s Saloon), and foie gras poutine (The Big Board).

The full list of dishes and a map of participating restaurants will be available on the festival web page, where diners will go to vote for their favorite foie gras dish. Everyone who votes will be entered to win a foie gras dinner for two prepared by chef Luke Feltz of Boundary Road and chef Teddy Folkman of Granville Moore’s.

This year the event drew support from D’Artagnan, which supplies premium Hudson Valley foie gras products to restaurants in the United States. They hope to help educate diners about responsible foie gras production. A resource guide is available for download on the festival page.”

80 Comment

  • People are still eating foie?

  • Before you go to this please look at some images of how these ducks are treated. Contrary to the happy healthy duck in the add they are usually kept in small cages or boxes and covered in their own blood and bile.
    I don’t support banning the food, but I think people should see and acknowledge what is happening to these animals for your entertainment.

    • Raising ducks for foie gras, just like raising any animal for its meat, can be done humanely, or inhumanely. If you’re concerned about it, then do your homework and look into the producer you’re buying from to make sure they have a good track record. But there is nothing inherently cruel about gavage when done properly. A duck’s anatomy is quite different from a human’s.

      • I can absolutely guarantee you that not a single person going to any of these restaurants for foie gras is “doing their homework”. So while you can feel good about that in theory, the ducks from the farms serving these locales are most likely covered in their own disintegrating organs,.

        • justinbc

          “I can absolutely guarantee you that not a single person going to any of these restaurants for foie gras is “doing their homework”. ”
          Absolutely guarantee? Based on what? Perhaps they are doing their homework and they just don’t care about the practices quite as much as you do? Personally, I recognize that all of the animal products that I eat were raised specifically with one goal in mind, consumption. You have several options if you want to focus on food sourcing: 1) investigate everything that you consume to ensure it’s raised in the manner that complies with your beliefs, 2) investigate a few select items and be a hypocrite about the rest, 3) be blissfully ignorant and just focus on whatever news stories come out through whatever media outlets you follow.

          • I’m excited to see PoPville when some little bistro on H Street announces Ortolan Day. Any dining practice that incorporates a ritual whereby you have to hide your face from God so he can’t see what you’re doing ought to be worth at least 300 comments.

          • The bones don’t matter. Just crunch them up.

          • justinbc

            The first time I heard about ortolan I thought I was being pranked. Little Miss Whiskey’s is the only one I can think who would be ballsy enough to do it, and even then I think not.

          • They’re pretty fantastic, if you’re not squeamish. I will admit though that my host offered to serve mine sans tete, and I took him up on it.

  • Basically, you’ve just given me a list of restaurants I will never patronize due to their support of this barbaric practice. I am no vegetarian but I won’t eat meat that has been tortured for my pleasure.

    • Most factory-farmed animals lead pretty miserable lives until they’re slaughtered. That’s not a problem for you but a duck being force-fed a bunch of corn is?

      • justinbc

        The amount of ignorance over how it’s raised is about as prevalent as people who bitch about GMOs.

        • Ignorance about how the animals are force fed and left to suffer in their own blood and bile?

          • So it’s technically possible to raise foie gras in a way that may not be torture. The product from the farm pictured in the website you sent me is available online, directly from the farm, at 60$ for 2 oz. Given the prices at most of the restaurants in this promotion, do you honestly think the farms look like the maybe, possibly not torture farm?

          • justinbc

            It’s pretty easy to look up D’artagnan, the supplier for this event, and also one of the largest and most respected producers in the US.

          • Yup. They specifically list Hudson Valley Foie as one of their suppliers. A farm that has been cited in many of the most widely cited articles about animal abuse:

          • Here’s the link to the supplier for this event, with video of the exact farm these restaurants are using, so you don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. Hard to call this humane:

          • justinbc

            @Petworther, to provide clarification it’s important that you understand Hudson Valley is a large geographic region running almost the entire north to south borders of the state of New York. “Hudson Valley Foie Gras”, a company, is not the same as duck raised on the D’Artagnan (event sponsor) farm in the Hudson Valley. It’s the premier region for duck products sold in the US, but there are numerous farms.
            Now, having said, examining the article you linked about HDFG farm (again, not the event sponsor here), there is only one reference to that farm in particular, and here is the paragraph:
            “Watching a short video taken by Compassion Over Killing during a public tour of Hudson Valley Foie Gras (the largest foie gras factory farm in the U.S.) shows that far from running to their abusers with mouths agape, ducks are actually huddled in the corner and must be grabbed and dragged in order to be force-fed.”
            I will admit, the rosy picture painted by whatever idiot claimed that ducks just run up asking to be fed is quite ridiculous (although I don’t doubt that it does happen on occasion), but the practice of grabbing and animal and taking it to its feeding grounds because it’s time to eat is something done to almost any animal in a big farm environment. These birds at least have the freedom of movement, unlike most beef and chicken sold in this country, which often rarely get to move from their designated chamber. I can understand the viewpoint of those who view that any subjection of animals to factory farming is cruel and who abstain from eating meat products as a result, but if you eat beef, chicken, or pork, and you haven’t visited the farm you’re buying it from to see their practices, then in my opinion you’re being hypocritical about foie gras (or any duck product for that matter, since they sell the entire thing as part of the process, they don’t produce the livers separately).

          • The Atlantic article specifically mentions D’Artagnan:
            “Even the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau considered the topic and ruled that D’Artagnan’s — the largest distributor of foie gras — claims of humane treatment were not backed up and should be discontinued.”

          • justinbc

            @Textdoc, I’m fine with them not specifically calling the treatment humane, that’s a vague standard to define and it’s misleading. Not to mention how ridiculous the whole concept of calling something humane that you’re about to slaughter anyway is. However acting as if it’s somehow more inhumane than other farming practices is what I take issue with.

          • “Not to mention how ridiculous the whole concept of calling something humane that you’re about to slaughter anyway is.” You might find it ridiculous, but the idea that some methods of slaughter are more/less humane than others has been around for a while — the Humane Slaughter Act has been around since the late 1950s.
            Maybe it’s a bit like the death penalty. Some people are opposed to the death penalty in any form. Others think that the death penalty itself doesn’t qualify as “cruel and unusual punishment,” but that certain methods of applying it do. For instance, I doubt most death-penalty supporters in the United States would support stoning someone to death as an acceptable form of the death penalty.

      • +1000. Thanks for pointing out the hypocrisy.

      • Isn’t it more of a spectrum of “questionably humane farming practices,” though? Not an exact equivalency between factory farming (though this depends to an extent on the species) and the production of foie gras?
        I see what you’re getting at, but I also see how many people who eat other kinds of meat/poultry feel that foie gras is a bridge too far.

      • “Most factory-farmed animals lead pretty miserable lives until they’re slaughtered. That’s not a problem for you but a duck being force-fed a bunch of corn is?”
        +100. It’s a hypocritical double standard to judge foie gras unless you are vegetarian.

        • I don’t eat any meat although I generally try not to impose my preferences on people because it’s absolutely possible to eat meat in an ethical way. I do, however, think the vast majority of foie gras production involves horrendous torture of animals.

        • Nah. Most of these animals exist to be eaten. But there’s nothing saying that we can’t treat our meat-sources well during their lives. I make an effort to buy humanely raised animal products. Foie gras generally doesn’t make the grade. Also, I think it’s crazy overrated as a luxury food.

          • justinbc

            I’ve had a lot of really bad foie gras dishes. I’ve also had some sublime ones. It definitely takes real culinary skill to make it shine.

          • Agreed. That is why I likely wouldn’t order it at many of the establishments participating in the festival – the preparation is more refined than I (perhaps unfairly) associate with them. I did have it – a small piece – at the Dabney recently, incorporated into a take on eggs benedict, and it was wonderful.

        • False binary. Agreed with WDC that “there’s nothing saying that we can’t treat our meat-sources well during their lives.”

          • OK.
            My original statement:
            “It’s a hypocritical double standard to judge foie gras unless you are vegetarian.”

            New nuanced longer statement for textdoc:
            “It is ignorant to make the blanket judgement that all foie gras is made using inhumane farming practices.

            It’s a hypocritical double standard to make a blanket judgement on all foie gras (produced with humane or inhumane farming practices) unless you are vegetarian.

            Furthermore, it’s a hypocritical double standard to judge foie gras that may have been raised humanely unless you only ever eat meat and dairy made from animals explicitly raised with humane farming practices.

            Finally, it’s a hypocritical double standard to judge restaurants who serve foie gras for their customers’ occasional enjoyment, unless every single one of your meals outside your home is at Founding Farmers, or another restaurant that explicitly states they only use humanely farmed meat.”

    • That’s great. more for us!

    • Ally

      Yep. I’m going to miss DC Harvest and Queen Vic. But, wouldn’t feel right going to them anymore. Will send letters asking them to reconsider participating next year.

      • justinbc

        Queen Vic uses some of the most responsibly sourced product of anywhere in this city, they are actually part owners of some of the farmland they buy from. If you are bypassing them and going somewhere else without fully investigating that place you’re doing yourself a huge disservice.

  • there are about 10-15 protesters standing outside of boundary road with large signs right now.

    • Their food was mediocre at best, though I like the bar. I’m not wound up enough about this to protest, but I dislike it enough that I will conciously choose Crisp, Bacio, or El Camino next time I’m looking for dinner. Not cool, I mean, I at least kind of get the French restaurants embracing this…but Boundary Stone?

  • Ally

    Not cool. And sad that this would actually be acceptable in DC, a city that tends to be a little more progressive.

  • If you don’t support foie gras, then don’t eat it.

  • I lived with ducks constantly while living on my boat at Gangplank. Believe me there is nothing a duck would enjoy more than being “force fed” corn and snacks. They would be fighting over a turn at the tube.

    • Goose liver pate is far superior to duck pate. Besides, geese are the worst animals on the planet so they deserve what they get. Their agony only makes their liver more delicious.

    • Wait, you speak duck too? I heard it’s rather tough to go from parakeet to duck.

  • My friends and I will not be eating at any place participating in this event while it runs. Thankfully, there are a handful of large enough bars that we can hang out and spend our money at.

    • wandafish

      Some of these restaurants still serve foie gras on their regular menus. Why not just avoid them forever? Oh wait, that would probably inconvenience you. Never mind.

  • These restaurants aren’t buying their foie gras from the fancy Spain place. They’re getting it from a farm in upstate NY that has been busted for using factory farming practices. Gross. There are enough restaurants on H Street and the hill now that I can avoid all of these places year round.

  • I’m not a fan of the practices used in farming foie, but I’m honestly not convinced the birds’ lives are any worse than the lives of grain-fed cows in a CAFO, or battery-caged hens, or gestation-crated sows. I think a lot of meat eaters don’t really appreciate just how inhumane intensive animal agriculture really is.

  • So delicious, anyone have a favorite between seared and terrine? I’ll take perfectly seared but i’m never unhappy with the other.

    • justinbc

      I definitely prefer it seared. They best I ever had was a place in Boston that did it pan roasted with a syrah, fresh cherry and mint compote.

    • Seared mi-cuit (half-cooked) is divine, but impossible to come by around here.
      Mousse, pate, parfait, or even “bloc” if the word “whole” isn’t included, are processed, and delicious, but I prefer whole foie gras whenever available (“entier”).

  • I didn’t know this was a thing…is it just once a year?

Comments are closed.