Chefs and gourmets alike in San Francisco have been overjoyed with the return of foie gras on the menu since nearly three months ago when a U.S. federal judge overturned a ban on the sale of the French delicacy in the state of California.
For the two weekends immediately after the two-year-old ban was struck down on Jan. 7, said Alex Leonardi, manager of L'ardoise Bistro in San Francisco, "We were booked to the gills because of clients' expectations to legally eat foie gras again at a restaurant."
"The ban created a hype for foie gras, like the ban on alcohol (in the United States) during the 1930s," Leonardi told Xinhua, " So now we have a lot of customers just walking into the restaurant spontaneously to try our foie gras."
Chefs in California have reported running low on the delicacy, which is made of fatty goose liver, as suppliers cannot meet the sudden growth in demand for the delicacy.
Although it is now legal to sell foie gras in the Golden State, it is still forbidden to produce it, forcing restaurants to import it either from other states or abroad, which increases the already high prices of the unctuous product.
"We never really stopped serving it, but since it has come back legally, our foie gras fans have been celebrating it and we have sold more of it than ever before," said Elias Sameer, owner of Isa, a restaurant located at Marina district in San Francisco. The restaurant has managed to secure large quantities of foie gras as soon as they heard about the judge's decision.
Foie gras is wholesaled at between 35 U.S. dollars and 55 dollars a pound (about 454 grams). Most restaurants often serve the delicacy in small portions, making it more profitable.
Some restaurants are creative at revamping old dishes, trying unusual ways to cater to the frenzy for the delicacy, like Californios in San Francisco, where clients can find foie gras ice cream, or Dirty Habit, another eatery in the city, where the appetizers are served with dishes like oysters poached in foie gras.
Animal rights groups, nevertheless, are fuming over the judge's decision, since they fought for many years to push the ban on foie gras.
The Humane Society, an animal protection organization, insists that force-feeding of geese and ducks is inhumane and caters only to the gluttony of a few.
"The ruling of the court relied on some absurd notion that force-feeding is an ingredient in the production of foie gras, which of course is absurd on its face," said Jennifer Fearing of the Humane Society's California branch, recently.
Animal rights groups have vowed to reinstate the ban.