Five Ways To Get Your Foie Gras On (Legally) In California After July 1

On July 1, SB 1520 comes into force, which bans the production (including production-for-hire) and sale of products involving force-fed birds. Notice those words–you can't produce it, and you can't hire someone else to produce it, and you can't sell it to anyone.

That leaves all sorts of great legal ways to obtain your foie gras, if you're truly determined to have it. Read on for five loopholes that'll keep you swimming in salade gasconne.

The distribution of foie gras is not prohibited, only its sale. Technically, your favorite restaurant could give you all the foie gras they wanted. They can even prepare it, because there's no rule against serving the stuff. They just can't charge you for it–but you don't mind paying $50 for brioche and cherry jam, right, with a lagniappe of a few ounces of foie gras?

3. Have it before the ban begins.

Because possession is legal, if you've got it before July 1, you can keep it. Fresh foie gras won't keep that long, but you can keep crocks of it preserved in duck fat as the French do, or you could go the more modern route and pressure can it in jars. Preserved foie gras ought to stay good long enough for the morons in Sacramento to get out of our mouths.


2. Buy it as pâté or terrine.

If you know what you're looking for, it's easy to tell pâté de foie gras from pâte de foie, um, normal. Foie gras just looks different. Somehow, though, it seems unlikely that Johnny Law is going to know the difference. (Unless the restaurant gets visited by Chris Cognac, though–then you're screwed.) Prove the livers that went into this mushy paste were abnormally enlarged, officer!

Charge for the setup, but not the food.

It's not likely that your favorite restaurant is just going to dole out the foie. Take a page from the old days of blue laws. Back in the day, the laws were so stringent about the sale of alcohol that establishments just charged for the setup. You paid a dollar or two for a glass and ice, and brought your own. Get your own foie gras through one of the methods above, and then take it to the restaurant to have it cooked. You'll pay a rental fee for the saucepan and utensils; if you're lucky, the restaurant will throw in the butter and seasonings.

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