This year for the holidays, Fanny, Toulouse and vegan, a menu already made her: she will offer jars of “Folie-gras” with the scent of madeleine de Proust. “This fake foie gras reminds me of childhood memories, but without a duck,” she recalls.
Simple fashion or real trend, vegetable foie gras is creating a hell of a buzz. Baptiste Le Chevalier, chef of the Toulouse vegan restaurant L’Embargo is delighted: “Customers started to taste out of curiosity. It has become one of my best sellers.” The same goes for Les Douceurs Végétales. Chef Leilla Bogaert has also been making her “faux-gras which has become a flagship product” for ten years. “The clientele is challenged and a desire to taste”.
This enthusiasm is stimulating the Toulouse offer. Baptiste Le Chevalier now offers his “Folie-gras” sterilized in delicatessen. It thus competes with the “foie gras-style terrine” of the brand Comme une poule, and the raw faux-gras of Leilla Bogaert. At the local level, productions vary from a hundred terrines to nearly a thousand. One expert considers this market to be “marginal, but likely to meet an increasing demand”. In an analysis note, the economic research firm estimates the annual growth of substitute products at 8%.
Against all expectations, artisanal vegetable foie gras is more expensive than its industrial version of its duck-based counterpart. 50 euros per kilo against 30 euros on average for the meat product, according to the National Establishment of Agricultural and Seafood Products, France Agrimer. There are also vegetable foies-gras at 20 euros per kilo, but they are low-end.
One question remains. What does artisanal vegetable foie gras consist of? Baptiste Le Chevalier uses “porcini mushrooms, morels, cognac, almond puree and coconut milk”. Leilla Bogaert created it from cashews, porcini oil and chestnuts. Everyone has their own recipe for transforming a meat product.