Wednesday, September 30, 2015

California foie gras law repeal may help Hudson Valley

There was a time when foie gras and France were inextricably linked. In recent years, however, the Hudson Valley has become a go-to place to get the controversial food item.

While some places fawn over the goose liver paste, others find it a disgusting  item that needs to be banned.

(For those who don't know how foie gras is made, here's a simplistic explanation -- geese and ducks are forcibly stuffed with food until they get fat and their livers become enlarged; the birds then are slaughtered and their livers are harvested to meet a certain consumer demand.)

Take California, for example. There, foie gras was banned by law until a federal judge struck down the law in January. But, as I discovered in a recent visit to Reno, NV, which isn't far from the California border, some Californians had been skirting that ban by getting their foie fix elsewhere.

While dining at the wonderful Charlie Palmer's steakhouse in Reno, I noticed Hudson Valley foie gras on the menu. I asked our waitperson about it, and she informed me it is immensely popular with Californians who visit the casino resort city.

What the new legal situation in California will mean for Hudson Valley producers remains to be seen, but restaurants that had not been able to serve the delicacy for two years have been scrambling to set up suppliers.

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