Foie Gras Doughnut Leaves Dunkin's in Dust

Most outrageous doughnut ever? Could be California's foie gras fritter.

June 5, 2013, 9:15 AM

June 5, 2013 -- A foie gras-filled doughnut will make its debut Friday in California. Homer Simpson, meet Emperor Nero.

"The Foie Bomb" (as it's called) is a creation of Psycho Donuts with stores in Campbell and San Jose, south of San Francisco. The Foie Bomb's debut, like that of Dunkin Donuts' Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich, coincides with National Doughnut Day. Apart from that, however, the two creations could not be more unalike.

The mass-produced Glazed Donut Sandwich will become, says Dunkin, part of its permanent menu. Suggested retail price: $2.99.

The Bomb -- delicate and hand-made -- will exist only while supplies last, perhaps only for a day, like a liver butterfly. Price: zero. It will be given away.

"We're planning on doing 100 of them, depending on how much foie gras mousse I can get," says Ron Levi, Psycho's Doctor of Donut Derangement, in charge of dreaming up new doughnuts.

The Bomb is a collaboration between Levi and Charlie Ayers, former executive chef for Google. The idea arose, Ayers tells ABC News, when the two "got thinking about what kind of outrageous thing we could do for National Doughnut Day."

And outrageous it is: The Bomb is a doughnut hole stuffed with foie gras mousse and pierced by a glass pipette containing balsamic gastrique, fig and honey. On its top rests a single sage leaf, salted and fried crisp.

The whole thing is small -- a single bite -- only half an ounce of dough. The eater pops it in his mouth, having first removed the pipette, whose contents he injects either into his mouth or into the center of the Bomb.

Levi describes the taste: "You have the unctuous fattiness of the mousse, in the center of a yeasty raised doughnut hole, and, on top of that, the honey-fig gastrique -- sweet, tangy and acidic. On top of that, the piece of fried sage, lightly salted with sea salt. The fattiness of the 'foie' and the herbaceousness of the sage -- as long as you get it all into your mouth, it's an experience the whole way through."

What does Ayers expect the public reaction to be?

"I expect some people will be very happy," he says, "and some not so."

Levi says phone calls have already started flooding in, "both pro-and anti-."

As for anti-, some Californians regard foie gras as synonymous with cruelty, since production of it entails the force-feeding of birds in order to enlarge their livers. In 2004, Californians passed a law prohibiting the practice, and the sale of any products resulting from it.

The law, however, says nothing about giving away foie gras for free, which is one reason the Bomb costs nothing.

"We researched the law," says Levi, "and we found we can legally give it away."

Ayers bristles at the prospect of anti-foie gras protesters: "How dare you tell people what they can and cannot eat? These are the same kind of people who are against same-sex marriage."

Paul Shapiro, spokesman for the Humane Society of the United States, calls Psycho's give-away "a PR stunt that makes a mockery of anti-cruelty law." The store, he tells ABC News, "sounds like it may be aptly named."

Psycho Donut, whose slogan is "Crazy Good!" has previously been the object of protests by mental health groups, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness, according to the San Jose Mercury News. NAMI's executive director, according to the News, complained that the shop would have been shut down, if it had played off any other disease than mental illness.

Psycho's menu includes a "Glazed and Confused" glazed doughnut, a "Cereal Killer" made with Cap'n Crunchberries, and the "Michael Jackson," whose description reads: "It's Bad! It's Dangerous! It's a chocolate cake donut that's become decidedly lighter."

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