Long the doyenne of the luxe food lexicon, foie gras appears to be on its way out. This week's shuttering of a Michelin-starred restaurant in Cambridge following violent protests by anti-foie gras activists is just the latest in a string of retractions relating to sales of the delicacy. To wit, top Chicago toque Charlie Trotter pulled the controversial item from his menus in 2005, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has approved legislation that will phase out foie gras production in the Golden State by 2012.
Made from the fattened livers of force-fed geese and ducks - the inelegant process is known as gavage - foie gras is a source of conflict for many diners who applaud its singular savory-rich taste but shrink from tales of how it's made. But, with outbursts like the Animal Liberation Front (ALF)'s recent vandalism in Cambridge - in response to which the restaurant pulled foie gras from its menu - it's a tale few are able to ignore at this point.