Gosh, the French are sensitive.
So sensitive that one official is calling for a ban of California wines in response to our foie gras ban.
The Chronicle reported Thursday that French National Assembly member Phillipe Martin called for French restaurants to remove what little California wine they serve from their shelves:
“I call on all the restaurants in France that sell Californian wine to stop doing so in a show of solidarity for our foie gras makers and, more broadly, for all food makers.”
All food makers?! Seriously, you’d think we are trying to outlaw foie gras in their country.
The fight over whether or not to serve the forced-fed goose liver dish has been a heated topic between restaurant savants and bleeding animal rights activists for some time. In fact, the dish has been outlawed in most of the state for more than seven years now. The state’s final producer was just brought under the ban as of July 1.
But Martin’s French feathers seem to have been ruffled by the statewide ban, to the point that he’s chosen to bash on our wine.
As the president of the council from the agriculture-based Gers department, known primarily for foie gras, Martin’s concern with whether or not the controversial dish is served in a state halfway across the world is part of his job.
But keep your paws away from our wine.
France alone produces two-thirds of the world’s foie gras, and three-fourth of that supply is consumed every year by — guess who — the French.
And while our state produced 90 percent of the US’s wine exports in 2011, only a “tiny amount” of that wine went to France.
Plus, according to Napa Valley Vintners spokesman Terry Hall, France is already such a major producer of its own wine that “there’s not going to be a lot of California wine to boycott.”
Even Martin acknowledged the largely symbolic nature of his message:
“This won’t have severe impact on the Gers region trade balance, let alone the French trade, or the California trade balance, but we had to send a strong signal because we think this is an unfair measure.”
Sounds more like you were bored and needed something to cry about, Monsieur Martin.
The California foie gras issue should stay between restaurateurs and animal rights activists from this side of the Atlantic. Here’s a glass of Napa Valley pinot to chase those foie-gras-blues away.