"Wabbit season!, Duck season!, Wabbit season, Duck season,...Shoot!"

Joined Apr 17, 2003
Apr 30, 9:17 am ET

PARIS (Reuters) - Select guests gathered at a top Paris restaurant on Tuesday to sample the one millionth duck to be snatched from grassy marshland, carefully strangled and ritually cooked with its own blood.
The legendary Tour d'Argent has been serving up eight-week old ducklings, reared in the west coast Challans marshes, since 1890, meticulously preparing them according to an age-old tradition, and serving each one with a souvenir numbered tag.

Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt ate duck No. 33,642 in 1910, Charlie Chaplin guzzled No. 253,652 some 45 years later, and celebrities like Elton John and Nicole Kidman and footballer Ronaldo have sampled more recent birds.

On Tuesday, the Tour d'Argent will uncork some of its finest wines and lay on fireworks above Notre Dame Cathedral, which diners will be able to see from the window as they tuck into the restaurant's one millionth roast "Caneton" (duckling).

"It's a real spectacle. That's what you go there for. When it's being prepared in front of the tables with Notre Dame in the background, it's like a miniature theater show," enthused restaurant critic Jean-Luc Petit-Renaud.

"One million ducks. It's marvelous, really moving," he told French TF1 television ahead of the feast, which has been reserved for a select 140 aficionados of fine food.

The Queen of England, as a princess, and Japanese Emperor Hirohito have both sampled a Tour d'Argent Caneton, famous for being served in a heady, cognac-laced sauce dosed with blood.

The secret, fans say, is in strangling the ducks, keeping the flesh succulent, rather than slitting their throats.

A former owner of the 421-year-old restaurant discovered the method over a century ago from a chef near Rouen who would buy cheap ducks that had been suffocated on the way to market. He tried the chef's succulent duck dish and was smitten.

At La Tour d'Argent today, carcasses of freshly strangled ducks are pressed to extract the blood which is mixed with cognac and port to make a rich, sizzling sauce.

"If for the chef each dish is a work of art, for me, it's a story unfolding, a face drawing itself, the return of a happy moment," said Claude Terrail, a debonair 85-year-old who inherited La Tour d'Argent from his father in 1947 and will pass it on to his 22-year-old son Andre on Tuesday.

"There is nothing more serious than pleasure," he adds.

Got to give FARK.COM credit for this....

Joined Aug 29, 2000
Rabbit, I had dinner in Rouen at La Couronne in 1998. It was a lovely summer evening, the night France played Netherlands in the World Cup. We decided to dine there early since a huge party was planned at the restaurant during the event. Consequently, when we arrived at 7:00, there was only one other couple, who were from the U.K., in the place.

They ordered the Pressed Rouen Duck. I have no idea what they were expecting, but when the huge, silvery press showed up at the table with the duck (still very rare), they were quite distressed. Imagine their expressions when the waiter began dismembering the duck and putting the carcass through the press, bloody juices running forth! :eek:

Later, when eating the finished meal, they were converted. I myself had a lovely maigret du canard, as I recall. It was superb.
Joined Apr 17, 2003
Intresting blurb from Reuters though.....
I hav'nt been out of the country yet, except for Canada.
My fiancee is from the Czech Republic, and after our wedding we will be going to Prague:) Can't wait!
Thanx for your reply....

Oh yea, omost forgot, I have eaten duck many times! luv it, and have prepared for many more (although it's been awhile)...

Throw a roasting pan in oven, smoke it, sear seasoned trussed duck, lock in oven , check often ( be paranoid ) smile, squeez 1/2 an orange over bird twice while cooking, crisp rendered skin and remove....cool, remove spine and other non-essentials, re-heat and serve with some rich boozy reduction, yeah!................

Joined Jan 11, 2002
Ooh, Prague...one of the most beautiful cities in the world!
And consider that I'm Italian...;)

Joined Jan 5, 2001
Reminds me of a certain American chain of restaurants... It goes something like "Over one billion served"?

Joined Jan 24, 2003
It is a classic and you get something similar by roasting duck pink carving & pouring the bloody pan juices in your sauce it adds that petit je ne sais quois....& saves investing in an archaic duck press
which is s remnant of 1930s Parisian dining style...still you know the french

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