Dormice as a delicacy

Recently in the news:

A hoard of 235 frozen dormice have been discovered during a police drugs raid in southern Italy.

The small rodents are believed to be a mafia delicacy served at important banquets. They were found when officers searched outbuildings of a cannabis farm in Reggio Calabria on Saturday.

Apparently dormice have been considered a delicacy since Roman times. Seconds Food History offers some info:

Special outdoor pens were used to raise edible dormice, where they’d be fed acorns, chestnuts and walnuts. When it was time to fatten the rodents, they’d be moved to terracotta containers called dolia. These jar-like vessels were specially designed to replicate the hollow of a tree, with limited space to discourage movement and encourage the storing of fat.

Back in the 1970s, Richard Hunt of High Lane, England had a business selling frozen dormice, "electrocuted and carefully skinned," for $51 each. That would be over $200 each, in today's dollars.

Dormice subsequently became protected under EU law, which must have ended Hunt's business. But has Brexit made it legal again to sell dormouse meat in the UK? I don't know.

Fort Worth Star Telegram - Aug 4, 1977

     Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 07, 2021
     Category: Food

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