Photo credit: www.telegraph.co.uk
Canadians are always looking for examples that prove that we are different from Americans but I haven’t heard too many people using Canada’s horsemeat industry to make this distinction.
The US no longer has a horsemeat industry; it closed several years ago amid accusations of cruelty and squeamishness about eating animals that are often thought of as pets. But the fact remains that horsemeat – or cheval as it’s called in French – is a popular meat choice in many cultures. In fact, it’s a $60 million industry here in Canada. Aside from a small domestic market in Quebec there is only a saddlebag of chefs in other provinces (including my husband Martin Kouprie here in Ontario) buying this homegrown food; most Canadian horsemeat is exported to France, Japan, Mexico, Italy and Switzerland.
If you’ve never had horsemeat, you might wonder: “Dana, why the heck would I bother? I have plenty of other stuff to eat.” And I’d answer: for the same reason you eat duck or moose – for variety!
If your interest is piqued, here’s what you need to know about the culinary aspects of horsemeat:
• It has a close, compact texture
• Colts are favoured as the most delicious
• It is sweeter flavoured, lighter and less fatty than beef
• It’s highly esteemed as a meat choice when making tartar
• It goes bad faster than other meats so it must be consumed when very fresh or frozen before use.
Still squeamish? That’s okay. This isn’t a food that everyone can like. But, if you’re curious but cautious, you’ll soon be able to ease into the idea of eating horsemeat by trying the mare’s milk cheese that Monforte Dairy will be producing in the future.