Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Eating Ortolan

Here's one from the 'Wouldya! Couldya?' files. It seems there is an innocuous little song bird (25g-just less than an ounce), called the Ortolan that makes its way across the Landes region,to the south of Bordeaux on its way to winter with the Hippo in africa. As yer do.

Here's the strange bit, Not only is this little fella considered a delicacy, but it's eaten guts, feathers an' all and served on fire - yep a la Tweedy-pie and Sylvester. Gizzards, testicles, Goofy Girls cooking, I like to think of myself as an adventurous eater. But I'm not sure if I could!

As this takes place in France there are a few ritual elements to consider - you're supposed to eat them with a napkin over your head. Strange yes, but that's not the only part. they are trapped in nets, then kept tin the dark for a month being fattened up on grain, and then drowned in armagnac. Classy.

Trapping the Ortolan has been illegal in France for ages, an this is supposed to be the zero tollerance year, but being an activity that's only practised in the depths of the countryside by a dwindling band (you wouldn't have to ask why) of old people it's not usually considered for prosecution.

'Fran├žois Simon, a restaurant critic for Le Figaro, has tried ortolans on several occasions. "It's absolutely delicious: rather crunchy, with the texture and flavour of hazelnuts,"'

EDIT Thanks to Hubert some background is here in a story from '97
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