Is any culinary delicacy so inimitably French as the taste of pate de foie gras? Snails and frogs are for the more discerning French palate but foie gras, particularly during the festive season, is universally popular. From Carcassonne to Calais, foie gras – made traditionally from goose livers, but more often now from duck livers - is an essential part of the Christmas feast in France and it appears many of the country's six million Muslims have acquired the taste too.
Sales of halal foie gras have increased ten-fold in the last two years, delighting supermarket chains across France. "It is one of our bestsellers, we were selling more than 30 a day" said the manager of a Parisian branch of Carrefour, while a spokesman for a leading meat wholesalers announced that demand for halal duck and halal capon has been "unprecedented" in 2009.
According to Antoine Sfeir, the Lebanese-born founder of the newspaper, Cahiers de l'Orient, the reason behind the boom in halal French delicacies is easy to explain: "First generation Muslims were traditionalists while the second generation were too busy working," he says. "They just didn't have the means, with seven or eight kids, to buy foie gras."