Archive for July 14th, 2010

A Slap in the Face

Horse meat goes on the menu with sale to humans allowed in Western Australia

* Horse meat now sold to Australians
* Previously only sold as pet food
* Popular meat in France, Italy, Japan, China

HORSE is now OK to eat in Australia and we may even learn to like it, say leading foodies.

Perth butcher Vince Gareffa, known as the Prince of Flesh, has led the charge by getting special permission from the West Australian government to supply the gamey meat to the public.

Mr Gareffa, who also supplies chefs across the country, opened his Perth shop yesterday with fresh horse meat for sale.

“We’ve got so many horses running in the wild, and we kill camels, we kill kangaroos, we kill emus,” Mr Gareffa said.

“There’s no way in the world it’s any different. It just happens to be more emotional.”

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Australian Gourmet Traveller features editor Pat Nourse has been a fan of the meat since accidentally ordering it in Italy.

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He said the resistance to make horse legal for human consumption in Australia was due to perception.

“It’s not a familiar foodstuff in this country for people,” he said.

“Although horses are routinely butchered for pet meat here, no one seems particularly bothered by that.”

A Melbourne chef plans to introduce the meat to food fans at a festival next month after agreeing to a $50 bet by Nourse on Twitter.

Nicolas Poeleart of Embrasse Restaurant, who has eaten horse ever since he was a child in France, will feature the meat in a simple tartare-style dish at the Taste of Melbourne festival.

“I just want people to try it,” Poeleart said.

The chef isn’t sure why Australia hasn’t allowed horse for human consumption until now.

“When the whole country stops for a few hours for a horse race… I think the horse is mostly seen as a pet,” he said.

“I think it’s a culture thing.”

Poeleart said horse meat would be most popular initially at middle-scale restaurants, pubs and then finally fine-dining establishments. He added that it would probably take a few years to catch on.

According to Nourse, butchers will probably sell more of it to people at home than they will through restaurants.

“The groups who I would see eating it would be people who’ve grown up with it – perhaps people who have tried it overseas and the odd culinary thrillseeker,” he said.

Poeleart says horse meat – which Australia already exports for international diners – is not very expensive.

“It’s about the same price as good beef,” he said.

“You have to cook it like venison, but using beef recipes.

“But you have to be very careful because it’s really lean, there’s not very much fat on it.”

And it’s not bad either, according to Nourse.

“It’s kind of like horsey beef,” he said.

“It’s perfectly tasty.”

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