Two French farmers have come up with a revolutionary concoction to challenge even the most adventurous foodies: pork pâté ice cream.
Patrice and Catherine Riauté from Parcé-sur-Sarthe in northwest France insist their new Gallic glace aux rillette is already a hit with locals, as the local school canteen has already ordered 500 cups of the frozen pink delicacy.
The pair dreamed up the unusual flavour as a bit of fun for the local Printemps des Rillettes festival, which gives pride of place to the Sarthe specialty of rillettes, a potted meat similar to pâté, and has a contest for the best products.
“We looked at the contest’s rules and said to ourselves: ‘why not glace aux rillettes ice-cream?’,” Mr Riauté told France Bleu, the local radio.
But there was another, more pressing reason: French dairy farmers have been hard-hit by a milk crisis that has reduced their takings from the raw material, so the couple decided to think out of the box to increase profits.
“We’ve been really suffering from the milk crisis for the past three or four years. And today we have found new momentum to bring value to our profession,” said Mr Riauté.
Ice-cream brings in 50 centimes per litre of milk, compared to 35 centimes for a litre sent direct to a dairy distributor.
The pair now offer 80 different flavours and their rillettes ice-cream is sold at local supermarkets in southern Sarthe as well as two restaurants.
“It seems to work,” said Mrs Riauté. “People clearly like it as you can really taste the rillettes."
“It’s not sickly, it’s very light. People were surprised, but pleasantly surprised,” said her husband. “They hesitate a bit but when they go for it, they’re smitten.”
The ice-cream is made with rillettes, sugar, eggs and milk and is ideal as an aperitif, they said.
Rillettes are normally made from finely chopped pork belly or shoulder slowly cooked slowly in fat before being made into a paste.
Variants exist made from duck, rabbit, salmon or tuna. Generally served with bread is is speciality of the central towns of Tours and Le Mans but is renowned throughout France.