WHILE most Spanish supermarket chains stock a range of vegetarian and vegan products, such as the well-known cheese substitutes and tofu burgers, one of the world’s most cruel luxury foods is now turning into an ethical, imitation product for discerning shoppers. This latest foodie invention is a vegan foie gras, called Fuah!, which is literally flying off Spanish shelves.
Real foie gras is made from duck or goose liver and is controversial because the birds are tube-fed more than they would usually eat, to fatten their liver before slaughter.
In the UK, King Charles is reportedly banning the product from royal estates. The US states of California and New York City also want to ban the cruel product. In these more socially aware times, it is not something to serve visitors who are concerned about animal welfare.
Avoiding any animal derivatives, the vegan version is made by a start-up company in Madrid called Hello Foods. Ingredients include coconut oil, beetroot extract and lentil flour. The company worked on the recipe for more than a year, revising it 800 times.
Within 12 hours of launch in December, the first 5,000 units of Fuah! had sold out across Spain. When 30,000 more were distributed, these were also snapped up. The product can be bought in specialist stores, online, and in Alcampo. The cost is 5.99 online and 8.99 in Alcampo.
Initially, not everyone likes the idea. Zoe Marie Burke of Orgiva quipped: “Vegan foie gras! We must be in the end times now.” Reader Matthew Frost added: “Think of the cruellest food possible and make a vegan option.”
However, any pre-conceptions seem to change when people put the pate into their mouths.
The Olive Press conducted a taste test in Bar Piki in the village of Canar, Granada region, serving it to British and Spanish clientele. The result was a resounding “wow”. Every single person liked it, and one young Spanish man was so enthusiastic that he wanted to buy some. The only one negative is that it’s not suitable for people with nut or gluten allergies, so be sure to read the label first.
Freya Rogers, one of the testers, said: “I really enjoyed the taste of the vegan foie gras although I’ve never tried the real thing, it was super tasty and had a really nice creamy texture. From an animal abuse point of view, this provides a good, cruelty free option for anyone who disagrees with the practice, vegan or not.”
Maria Jose Moreno, a Spanish tester, added: “I personally liked it a lot. It’s years since I had real foie gras, but I remember the flavour well – creamy and tasty.”
Sorrell Badger, a committed vegan from Lanjaron, said: “I am pleasantly surprised. It is creamy and delicious and you get an attractive glass jar to keep when you’re finished.”
Even the reporter, who dislikes any foods based on real liver, pronounced it delicious.
It looks like the vegan foie gras has found its market niche.