Memories! I once saw one of these used in a hotel in Rouen itself! It was in the mid-eighties and I was a college exchange student for two months of the Summer. The hotel in which I was working was l’Hotel Frantel (a fairly large national chain at the time) and it had in it’s possession two of these devices proudly displayed in the wine bar! The hotel faced the Cathedral across the very town square in which Jean d’Arc was burned at the stake for heresy. Believe it or not, pressed duck is a delicacy well worth tasting!
The duck press was invented in France during the 1800s by a chef called Mechenet to make what is one of the most extravagant and macabre dishes ever created: Caneton de Rouen à la Presse, also known as Duck in Blood Sauce. It was popularised by Chef Frèdèric who was head chef at the famous restaurant La Tour d’Argent where it became the signature dish. It is reckoned over a million were served there. What is particularly impressive is that the dish was made at the table in front of the guests.
At La Tour d’Argent you are given a card
telling you the ‘number of your duck’
The dish became very popular in Britain during that famously excessive (and thankfully brief) period of history, the Edwardian Era. London’s high society went to huge efforts to appear sophisticated; French cuisine has always been associated with sophistication and the dish…
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