Foie gras is a popular Christmas dish in France. Its name means “fat liver” in the French language. It is traditionally made from fattened duck and goose livers.
But vegan and other plant-based alternatives to foie gras are becoming more popular. A severe bird flu this year has decreased the number of ducks as well as the supply of foie gras. Production is expected to fall 30 to 35 percent from last year, while prices will likely rise about 20 percent.
French chef Fabien Borgel runs the "42 Degres" vegan restaurant in Paris. He created what he calls a "faux gras" two years ago. “Faux” means fake or false in French. Borgel’s vegan foie gras contains cashew nuts along with sunflower and coconut oil. It looks like traditional foie gras but is a little softer.
Borgel says the decrease in supply of traditional foie gras could make more people want to try such alternatives. 42 Degres is putting its "faux gras" on its menu from December through February.
Foie gras was officially classified as part of the "cultural and gastronomic heritage" of France. However, some countries and places have considered banning it because of worries about the treatment of ducks and geese. Animal rights activists are against foie gras because the ducks and geese must be force-fed in order to enlarge their livers.
"You have people that have never tasted foie gras and will never taste it and they want something festive for the year-end parties. Others want to change the way they eat and are heading towards alternatives," Borgel said.
However, not everyone in France is ready for those alternatives. A recent public opinion study released by French foie gras producers found that 77 percent of French people were not ready to change from traditional foie gras to plant-based versions.
I’m Andrew Smith.
Andrew Smith adapted this report from Reuters for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
dish -n. food that has been prepared in a particular style, often from a combination of ingredients.
vegan -adj. describing food that contains no animal products or a person who never eats food containing animal products.
alternative -n. another choice or possibility
gastronomic -adj. relating to food and diet
heritage -n. the cultural history and traditions of a group or society
festive -adj. relating to parties and celebrations
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