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Interesting facts about French ducks and their fat

 

Ducks are a big part of French culture and cuisine as well as adding value to the economy of France.

There is around 1 duck for every 2 people in France and France has the highest number of ducks in Europe, in fact, it is the only country outside of Asia in the top ten of world duck population.  Ducks export value to France is over 5 million euro a year.  

French philosopher Voltaire wrote that 'without...the duck of Vaucanson (a mechanical digesting duck made in the 18th century), you will have nothing to remind you of the glory of France' (sans...le canard de Vaucanson vous n'auriez rien qui fit ressouvenir de la gloire de la France)

Duck hunting season runs from September to January in France which is a country of migrations and wintering stay for ducks from Scandinavia and Russia.

A farm cooperative, based in a rural village in the southwest of France in the Dordogne, is powering a tractor and two other vehicles with biodiesel made from duck fat. There are plans to expand the production of this fuel in the area.

Duck fat is another part of the French Paradox: in the United States, 315 of every 100,000 middle-aged men die of heart attacks each year. In France the rate is 145 per 100,000. However, In the Gascony region, where goose and duck products form a staple of the diet, this rate is only 80 per 100,000.  Duck fat contains 35% saturated fat (compared to 51% in butter) and 50% monounsaturates (close to but not as high as olive oil which has 70%).

France is the leading producer and consumer of foie gras made from the livers of ducks that have been specially fattened. France produces 80% of the world's total foie gras production. There has been a fair bit of controversy from animal rights activists about the duck fattening process.

French recipes for duck and its fat include duck confit, duck a l'orange and duck fat potatoes.

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