I love duck. One of our Saturday night treats used to be a Marks and Spencer’s aromatic crispy duck with pancakes, hoisin sauce, cucumber and shredded spring onions. If there is duck on the menu, I enjoy eating it. On the other hand I, like many Brits, hesitate when it comes to ‘foie gras’. We don’t feel comfortable with the idea of putting a tube down the throat of an animal and force feeding it until its liver is 10 times its normal size and takes up most of the bird’s body cavity. So it was an, ‘Oh, dear’ moment when I read, ‘Le confit de canard est un plat phare de la cuisine Sud-Ouest et l’un des éléments incontournables du cassoulet. Le magret est issu du canard gavé pour produire cette perle de la gastronomie française, le foie gras.’Of course! The meat that goes into cassoulets and served as ‘confit de canard’ and ‘magret’ in the South-West is the leftover meat from the carcasses of the force-fed ducks – what else would they do with it? On the bright side it is another reason to avoid the delicious looking chocolate or coffee eclairs that appear in freezer shops at Christmas time. They contain foie gras! I can imagine the terrible feeling of deception as an unsuspecting person bites into an inviting looking aperitif only to find that there is a greasy, meaty, savoury filling and not the light, whipped, sweet, cream they were expecting. To spit out, or not to spit out, that would be the question? To add to the strange concoctions I have seen, what about ‘Crème brûlée au foie gras de canard’?

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