Diners must cover their face when enjoying this dish

Diners must cover their face when enjoying this dish
Traditionally, diners use their headscarves to cover up their sins to God when they eat grilled nightingale.

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Wine-roaring nightingale is one of the most expensive delicacies in France. However, it caused a lot of controversies because the hunting and processing method was judged to be too cruel.

The delicacy of French cuisine
Along with the fat foie gras, grilled nightingale has been used in parties of the Roman Emperor. In addition to the skills of the chef, the ingredients are well prepared so that the skin of the nightingale is glossy yellow, the dish remains fat and hot when brought to the table.
Diners must cover their face when enjoying this dish
Guests eat nightingale at a private dinner after it is banned in restaurants. Photo: MAXPP / Richard Cottenier.
Baked nightingale has a taste of a blend of olive, chestnut, and premium French wine. To fully enjoy the dish, diners have to chew slowly, both bones and organs, leaving only the beak. Some people who enjoy this dish say they are "crazy" when the taste of fat, meat, skin, liver, lungs and the aroma of alcohol dissolve in the palate.

How to enjoy grilled nightingale is not the same as usual. Traditionally, diners will use a large scarf to cover their heads when eating. They are used to preserve the scent of the dish and ensure courtesy when chewing and releasing bones. However, this is also thought to be a way for the eater to avoid God's eyes, as they chew the bones of a beautiful bird that was once cruelly captured and processed.

Birds live in darkness and die in alcohol
Ortolan is a songbird, weighing less than an ounce. They live extensively in warm regions of Europe such as southern France, Italy, Spain and Greece. The nightingale feeds on insects in the summer and grains and seeds at other times of the year.
Diners must cover their face when enjoying this dish
The nightingale birds will be dropped into wine barrels before being cooked. Photo: MAXPPP.
To catch birds, hunters will set traps on the fields during their migration season. The tiny creatures were locked in a dark cage for 12 to 28 days or blinded to not distinguish day and night. As a result, they will eat millet seeds, grapes more and double in size before processing.

Two days before being cooked, they stopped being fed. If the bird is strangled, the flesh and internal organs could be bruised and shattered. Therefore, they are immersed in wine barrels, both to drown and to flavor. The feathers are then carefully plucked so that the fat does not escape. They are prepared by dry roasting in high temperatures for 5 to 7 minutes.

The law on prohibiting grilled nightingale dishes
The French Federation of Bird Protection announced that the number of nightingales decreased by 30% between 1997 and 2007. In particular, an estimated 30,000 birds are caught each year, around the Aquitaine area. By 2007, the French government issued a ban on hunting, with a maximum fine of 6,000 Euro to protect this bird. The killing and processing of nightingale are also banned throughout Europe.
Diners must cover their face when enjoying this dish
Michel Guérard and Jean Coussau are two of the few chefs who are trying to bring the nightingale back to the French restaurant menu. Photo: Nytimes / Ulrich Lebeuf.
Despite the law, many people in this country still catch and eat birds. The black market continues to thrive. Here, the dish costs about 150 Euro. Traditionally, families in Landes, southwest of the country often enjoy this dish once a year.

Some chefs are still trying to get grilled nightlife back into the restaurant menu. They said that food is a way to revive tradition dating back Roman era and preserve the values of French cuisine.

Diners must cover their face when enjoying this dish Diners must cover their face when enjoying this dish Reviewed by Duy Khiêm on October 09, 2019 Rating: 5

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