Would You Have The Heart To Eat An Adorable, Little Ortolan Bunting?

Content Warning: Not For The Squeamish

The Ortolan Bunting is a small songbird that has been considered a French delicacy for centuries. Its eating style is unique. It consists of frying the bird in its entirety, and eating it all in one bite – everything but the feet.

Ortolan Bunting

Its preparation is even more unpleasant. It involves capturing the bird and keeping it in the dark for several months. The artificial darkness makes it eat more and double its weight. After that,  they throw the birds into Armaniak (a form of French brandy). This is done to marinate and drown them.

But, it gets even more gruesome. Serving and eating is done with a napkin or a towel over one’s head; some say it is to keep the aroma, others to hide the shameful act from God. The taste is reminiscent of hazelnuts, for those who are wondering.

Ortolan Bunting

Nowadays,  hunting and eating the Ortolan Bunting is forbidden throughout the EU. However, many French chefs are struggling to return the ortolan to their restaurant menus.