Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, welcoming foodies to discuss the dining scenes in Israel and abroad, along with all things related to kosher food.

Duck is sick

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Duck is sick

by MarkC » Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:51 am

As a riff on Mr. Rogov's earlier thread, can anyone tell me why there is no duck in Israel? My research turned up an outfit in Petah Tikva called Progress that turns out frozen ducks, and miserable, scrawny specimens they are, not worth eating. The owner claims that the health ministry will only let him sell frozen ducks, but I don't know if that's due to his own limitations, or if that's the law regarding ducks in Israel. Literally, there seems to be no duck worthy of the name in Israel, and this seems a very strange omission in a country where new gourmet restaurants open every day. Can anyone explain this?
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Re: Duck is sick

by Michelle Nordell » Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:50 am

The only duck I have seen is frozen from France. And the only goose I have seen is frozen from Hungary. They are both very expensive.
Last edited by Michelle Nordell on Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Duck is sick

by MarkC » Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:23 pm

Can I ask where you found the imported frozen ducks and geese? At least maybe they're better than our local ones.
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Re: Duck is sick

by Shel T » Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:57 pm

Very interesting and not having been in Israel for many years, had no idea that was the case and look forward to Rogov's knowledgeable reply. And that begs the question, what's the situation with turkey and game in Israel?
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Re: Duck is sick

by Daniel Rogov » Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:17 pm

1. Farm raised and even free-range and organically raised ducks and geese are indeed available in Israel but one will find them only directly from the farmers that raise them, that largely in the Galilee and on the Golan, most of them making their way to the country's better restaurants and would you believe, the "Jewish" restaurants (that is to say those restaurants seving up the dishes of Central and Eastern Europe). They are also sometimes available at the better butcher shops of the Galilee but one has to place orders in advance.

2. Israeli turkeys, in my opinion, have precious little in common with those magnificent birds of North America. In my opinion, the turkeys raised in Israel have little charm while alive and even less when placed in our ovens, their flavor and texture being watery at best. Best bet for turkey within Israel is to hold until Thanksgiving which, although not celebrated by many here, brings an influx of quite good frozen whole turkeys from the USA. Personally, I always wait until that time of the year to stock up and place 3 - 4 birds in my freezer.

3. As to wild game - the country boasts some magnificent samples of wild boar, deer, game birds (partridges, pheasants, quails) and fish - especially of course sea fish and of fresh-water fish, catfish, trout and bass that have escaped from the ponds and made their way to the Jordan river in which they today thrive. With regard to true game, the problem is that although some people are licensed to hunt, no-one is allowed to sell that meat - neither in restaurants nor privately. There are some ways around this of course and a few restaurants in the Galilee are more than happy to charge you a goodly sum for their salads and give you their meat free of charge. Alas, even that loophole is closing. High quality game is, however, available to those who have contacts in Jericho.

By the way, hunting in Israel is a very controlled operation, one of the very few areas in which the country excels in guarding its wildlife and environment! That there is a certain amount of illegal hunting is evident, but under no circumstances do I advise buying from sources, that for both moral and health reasons.

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Re: Duck is sick

by Shel T » Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:34 pm

Thanks for that Daniel, knew you'd have the answers!
Re the watery/anemic turkeys in Israel, do what you attribute those conditions--environment, climate, technique or the lack of it?
And no wild deer or other antlered animals roaming the country, and what about rabbits for cuisine purposes. Sorry, so many questions, but am curious if you have the time to reply.
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Re: Duck is sick

by MarkC » Mon Aug 18, 2008 5:46 pm

Daniel;

Could I prevail upon you to share which are those farms and butcher shops in the Galilee and Golan where said ducks can be obtained? I've been craving duck ever since I arrived here.
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Re: Duck is sick

by Daniel Rogov » Mon Aug 18, 2008 5:58 pm

Re the watery/anemic turkeys in Israel, do what you attribute those conditions--environment, climate, technique or the lack of it?


None of the above. For reasons unknown when turkey farming started in Israel eggs and breeding birds were imported from Europe, the European strain of birds having made their way from South rather than North America. It's all in the breeding. Precisely why this has never changed eludes me.....

And no wild deer or other antlered animals roaming the country, and what about rabbits for cuisine purposes


Most of the different kinds of deers and mountain goats in the country come from the Negev dessert and all are protected species. As to rabbits, indeed some are raised but nearly all make their way to restaurants. I do believe that the Tiv Tam chain of supermarkets carries rabbit meat at times.


...those farms and butcher shops in the Galilee and Golan where said ducks can be obtained?


Very best bet is Doris Katzavim in Rosh Pina and if they don't have them at the moment, check with chef Tibi at Muscat Restaurant. He'll be able to give you phone numbers and information.


Oh yes.....lest we forget for those who enjoy such things - hedgehogs and porcupines



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Re: Duck is sick

by MarkC » Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:17 pm

Thanks! Porcupines are a delicacy among the Druze, who poach them mercilessly.
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Re: Duck is sick

by Michelle Nordell » Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:34 am

You can find them at most Super Sols. I saw them at the one at Ra'anananim Mall.
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Re: Duck is sick

by Shel T » Tue Aug 19, 2008 2:50 pm

Hmmm, porcupines and hedgehogs as haute cuisine...
Guess it must depend on location and day-to-day eating habits as you grew up, because not much call for either one on the dinner table west of the Mississippi, or that's my impression anyway. Maybe the midwest and the south do more with them, for sure Alaska used to, maybe still do.
FYI, apart from the known porcupine defense, they're also loaded with fleas--yum.
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