Gers poultry and foie gras take center stage at Emmanuel Macron’s table at the Elysée
Following a tradition that dates back to the time when the “Belly of Paris” was the capital’s Halles, where on May 1st the managers offered the King of France a shopping bag of lily of the valley, a special basket of poultry and foie gras, garnished with particular Gers products, including a Gascon Chapon, was once again given as a gift to the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron.
It was in 1995 that the Rungis poultry farmers first offered the Gersois to participate in lily-of-the-valley wishes at the Elysée. Marc Hervouet, president of the wholesale poultry and game union, wanted to make a special lily of the valley basket for poultry and foie gras, to show the then President of the Republic, Jacques Chirac, French savoir-faire in poultry, of which the rooster is the emblem of France.
Gers poultry has always been well represented in Paris and Rungis despite the distance to be covered. At the time of the train, Mirande’s chicken coop, which at Pentecost will be christened “Halle André-Daguin”, the inventor of duck breast and capon, was the departure point for Paris.
Even today, the Gers department is well represented in poultry by Fermiers du Gers, Maison Garbay, Tradition des Coteaux or Sica Noire d’Astarac-Bigorre; and foie gras from Puntoun and Phalange farms.
The Gascon Capon as standard-bearer of the Gers
In the 1990s, Europe experienced a turning point in its history with the enlargement of the EU to include Central European countries and the evolution of health standards. This ceremony has become an informal and festive occasion to raise political awareness of the same French specificities currently protected since 2009 but which could have been threatened with disappearance if we were not careful.
This was the case with traditional presentations such as dry-plucked poultry with their feather adornment. A specialty that the inhabitants of the Gers have become almost the only ones in France who know how to master it and still offer it today.
With the rebirth of the Gascon chicken, almost 20 years ago, almost every May 1st, it is the Capon Noir of Astarac-Bigorre, wrapped in its beautiful blue Lectoure cloth, which rises to Paris to reach the Rue du Gers in Rungis to represent the quality of the French poultry industry at the Elysée in a lily of the valley basket, alongside capons and Bresse turkeys.
Poultry sectors grappling with avian flu
After the Covid years, the current president of poultry and game breeding, Gino “the man with the hat”, with the support of the young wholesalers who are taking over, wanted to spice up this ceremony with a very nice presentation. An opportunity to show the President of the Republic the dynamism and quality of the French poultry industry.
It was also important that wholesalers demonstrate to governments the need to support the poultry sectors, long and short, which have been weakened since 2015 by successive avian flu crises such as this spring, which is once again affecting duck farmers and poultry. already tried. A new spring epizootic that threatens to interrupt the settlement of festive poultry.
The support of state services in the treatment of crises to stop the virus, financial solidarity and the implementation of vaccination solutions next autumn are factors of hope for all producers, artisans and players in the French poultry sector.
We hope that this Gascon capon raised, plucked and wrapped in Astarac and Bigorre has benefited from the same gastronomic talent of the chefs of the Gers de La Ronde des Mousquetaires and the Tables du Gers to let the presidential couple taste it. History does not tell us whether he was accompanied by a tear of floc de Gascogne.