Several restaurants in San Francisco are ignoring California's recently-enacted ban of the French delicacy Foie Gras.
According to CBS San Francisco, Chez TJ in Mountain View, Calif. is still serving the fattened duck liver, despite the ban, which took effect on July 1.
"The law says you cannot sell it. It didn't say you could not serve it," restaurant owner George Aviet told the news outlet.
In a strategically planned move, Chez TJ stocked up on foie gras before the ban took effect.
"It is legal," Joey Elenterio, head chef at Chez TJ, told CBS. "The law clearly states that selling and producing foie gras in the state of California is illegal. I don't see any ducks on our property. It's not on the menu. I'm not selling it. I'm not getting any profit from the foie gras. I'm simply giving it away as a gift from me."
Foie gras, which is a popular and well-known delicacy in French cuisine, is a food product made of the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened. By French law, it is defined as the liver of a duck fattened by gavage (force-feeding corn), although outside of France it is occasionally produced using natural feeding.
It is often described as flavorful, rich, buttery, and delicate, unlike that of an ordinary duck or goose liver.
It can be sold whole, or can be prepared into mousse, parfait, or pâté (the lowest quality). Foie gras may also be served as an accompaniment to another food item, such as steak.
Much controversy has long surrounded the French food because of its Gavage-based production method with a number of countries and other jurisdictions setting laws against force feeding and/or the sale of foie gras.
On Friday, about two dozen protesters showed up outside Chez TJ at dinnertime holding graphic pictures of birds being force fed, according to CBS.
"Chez TJ is blatantly in violation of the California foie gras ban. And they care more about a cruel delicacy than complying with the law," Dana Portnoy, a rep. for Santa Clara County Activists for Animals, told CBS. "If they're violating this law, you have to wonder what other laws are they violating."
Mountain View Police have even report that they have responded to complaints from The Humane Society saying the restaurant is breaking the law. Police have reportedly handed off the case to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.
Meanwhile, as the remaining foie gras at Chez TJ is expected to last through the weekend, the restaurant has reportedly decided to avoid any further controversy by not purchasing more of the product until the legality of the delicacy is cleared up.