In one of the most bizarre dining rituals ever devised: A small group of secretive, slightly nervous French gourmets gather in a secluded place, take their seats and, with quasi-religious observation, scrutinize the tiny offering placed in front of them for which they’ve parted with nearly $200.
They lower their faces over the dishes before lifting their napkins and draping them over their heads and faces, inhaling deeply. What follows is a strange symphony of semi-orgasmic groans and the crunching of tiny bones.
This is the prescribed process for consuming ortolans, petite songbirds often referred to as “France’s cruelest food.”
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