Friday, 16 May 2008

Horse Meat in Paris

If a man eats a cow a pig or a sheep then why not a horse? But when Gordon Ramsay offered samples of horse meat to passers by on his TV programme there were gasps of horror throughout the kingdom culminating in demonstrators dumping piles of equine manure outside his London Claridges Restaurant.

This taboo against horse meat exists in the UK and the US but not in France.

In France horse meat was until recently sold exclusively in boucheries chevalines, it was forbidden for ordinary butchers to sell it but the government relaxed regulations in the 1990s and now you can even find it in supermarkets.

Nevertheless, the boucheries chevalines are still a common sight in the quartier. I can think of a least 5 within 20 minutes walk of my apartment in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. They’re easy to spot; many will have will have figures of horses heads (what else?) hanging above the premises (photo is of Au cheval du Marais, Paris 75004). In fact, sales of horse meat are actually increasing in France.

The meat is tasty and it’s high in protein and low in fat (50 per cent leaner than beef). It is even prescribed by French doctors as treatment for anaemia. So it’s not surprising that super chefs such as Gordon Ramsay are urging us to overcome our sentimentality and give it a go.

Although horse meat has become chic amongst trendy Parisians I can’t see it talking off in a culture like the Britain’s, so steeped in equestrian nostalgia. We grew up with Black Beauty and Cheltenham races and we drink beer in the Nag’s Head but if you’re paying a visit to Paris then you’ll have ample opportunity to have a give it a try.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Good Job! :)