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Why is duck served with a sweet sauce?

Why is duck served with a sweet sauce?

Old Apr 11, 16, 8:42 am
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Why is duck served with a sweet sauce?

I love to order duck when I'm in France. Unlike the case in the U.S., it's often served just roasted with no sauce at all. Instead everyone just smears their duck with a little of the French mustard that's always in a jar on the table. When it is served with a sauce, it's rarely the super-sweet, thick sauces that are served in the U.S.

I never see duck offered in the U.S. without it being paired or smothered in a sickly sweet sauce. French mustard is never made available. I detest having excessive sweetness in the food I eat, so generally have to choose my duck entrees very carefully in the U.S. if I order them at all.

Does no one but me and all of the people I see in French restaurants like mustard on their duck rather than a sickly sweet sauce? Is there any reason for this?
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Old Apr 11, 16, 9:06 am
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You are not alone. I despise sweet meat of any kind.
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Old Apr 11, 16, 9:22 am
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Sharp sauces suit fatty meats like duck. So, sharp fruit sauces work well, as does mustard or light vinaigrette.

But these things get lost in translation. No blackcurrant vinaigrette available? Try some jam. You see that kind of thing in Westernised versions of more exotic foodstuffs all the time. I don't think this is any different.

For me, one of the most interesting duck dishes I've had was in Hungary, with a slightly sharp, coffee-based sauce. Never seen anything like it since.
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Old Apr 11, 16, 9:27 am
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I don't like duck at all, and I've seen it on plenty of menus without sweet sauces, but I'd expect that the sweet sauce thing comes from the Chinese influences on the US palate.

After all, "they" even named a super sweet sauce "Duck Sauce" so "we" probably figure, "That's what you eat with duck." Chinese ducks hanging in windows is how most people over a certain age ate their first, second, and many subsequent, ducks. Ok, the ducks weren't Chinese, but they were prepared in Chinese restaurants.
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Old Apr 11, 16, 10:10 am
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I like meat with a sweet sauce but I'm not a big duck fan. I learned how to make duck confit in a French cooking class in Tennessee and it was okay. No sugar involved. I've seen duck a l'orange in a restaurant in Massachusetts where I worked as a teenager and it was smothered with a sugary sauce, covered in orange slices and cherries. I had no idea it was inauthentic but you're probably right. I've seen duck in a Colorado Sechuan restaurant and I'm pretty sure it was spicy as opposed to sweet.

I can't resist those bbq ribs in a Chinese restaurant or smoked pork with a sweet barbeque sauce. I think sugar and meat can go together but maybe just pork.
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Old Apr 11, 16, 3:14 pm
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Duck is a fairly rich, fatty meat with lots of flavor. I feel that the more savory/rich sauces just add too much of that. Usually salty/fat go well with sweet/citrus. I think it's the same reason you see foie gras always served with something sweet. Lots of fat and very rich.
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Old Apr 11, 16, 3:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Rebelyell View Post
I love to order duck when I'm in France. Unlike the case in the U.S., it's often served just roasted with no sauce at all. Instead everyone just smears their duck with a little of the French mustard that's always in a jar on the table. When it is served with a sauce, it's rarely the super-sweet, thick sauces that are served in the U.S.

I never see duck offered in the U.S. without it being paired or smothered in a sickly sweet sauce. French mustard is never made available. I detest having excessive sweetness in the food I eat, so generally have to choose my duck entrees very carefully in the U.S. if I order them at all.

Does no one but me and all of the people I see in French restaurants like mustard on their duck rather than a sickly sweet sauce? Is there any reason for this?
Interesting to read this. I took a cooking class last summer in Provence, and the sauce we prepared for duck breasts was based on shallots and cherries. It was delicious, and mildly sweet, though not "sickly sweet."

The duck I ordered in Champagne at a Michelin-starred place was, conversely, quite austerely prepared with a dry rub. Again, delicious, especially with the red Burgundy (Gevrey-Chambertin) selected with the chef's concurrence.
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Old Apr 11, 16, 4:24 pm
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I don't like any sweet sauces on my meat or fowl or fish.
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Old Apr 11, 16, 6:26 pm
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Duck with hoisin sauce - it's the Chinese way, and it's delicious

Speaking of duck, I had a half duck cooked carnitas-style at Cosme, a fantastic Mexican restaurant in NYC last night. One of the more innovative (and incredibly delicious) ways of presenting it.
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Old Apr 12, 16, 9:01 pm
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We're not fans of overly sweet sauces but do appreciate duck in Penang or yellow curry.
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Old Apr 13, 16, 8:31 am
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Duck a'la'orange is one of my favourite meals.
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Old Apr 13, 16, 8:48 am
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Originally Posted by BamaVol View Post
I like meat with a sweet sauce but I'm not a big duck fan. I learned how to make duck confit in a French cooking class in Tennessee and it was okay. No sugar involved. I've seen duck a l'orange in a restaurant in Massachusetts where I worked as a teenager and it was smothered with a sugary sauce, covered in orange slices and cherries. I had no idea it was inauthentic but you're probably right. I've seen duck in a Colorado Sechuan restaurant and I'm pretty sure it was spicy as opposed to sweet.

I can't resist those bbq ribs in a Chinese restaurant or smoked pork with a sweet barbeque sauce. I think sugar and meat can go together but maybe just pork.
The Old Mill?

Personally I don't like duck. But it was at one point fairly common here in Central Mass. I think it has a lot to do with the history of the US. Unlike Europe duck and other game such as rabbit were survival food in the early days. It was not always high quality - it was usually what you could catch which was often slow or old or sick. But early American settlers and colonialists did originally come from Europe, so they had cooking skills and knew of, if not directly how, to prepare things. So what developed was what an English descendant housewife of a french descendant farmer who is trying to hunt something to feed the family through the winter, and the wife trying to do the best she can to make it palatable.
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Old Apr 13, 16, 12:11 pm
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Originally Posted by Cloudship View Post
The Old Mill?
Further west. The Lenox House. Then I followed one of the chefs to The Coachlight in Pittsfield and he did the same dish there. He liked it well enough that I saw him prepare it for himself and his wife on a number of occasions.
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Old Apr 15, 16, 2:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Rebelyell View Post
I love to order duck when I'm in France. Unlike the case in the U.S., it's often served just roasted with no sauce at all. Instead everyone just smears their duck with a little of the French mustard that's always in a jar on the table. When it is served with a sauce, it's rarely the super-sweet, thick sauces that are served in the U.S.

I never see duck offered in the U.S. without it being paired or smothered in a sickly sweet sauce. French mustard is never made available. I detest having excessive sweetness in the food I eat, so generally have to choose my duck entrees very carefully in the U.S. if I order them at all.

Does no one but me and all of the people I see in French restaurants like mustard on their duck rather than a sickly sweet sauce? Is there any reason for this?
To your topic, well it tastes good. It's more of an asian preparation. That said, it's not like the French don't bother with it.

http://chefsimon.lemonde.fr/gourmets...-a-l-orange--4

"Il faut relire l'histoire de Catherine de Médicis, pour comprendre qu'il est probable que ses cuisiniers importèrent cette recette raffinée en France dès le XVIe.
Encore que du côté de Séville, le canard à l'orange existait depuis fort longtemps... préparé, comme il se doit, avec la bigarade ou orange amère, dite aussi orange de Séville.
D'ailleurs, René Lasserre qui mis au point dans son restaurant (Lasserre-Paris) en 1945 LA recette du "Canard à l'orange", était d'origine béarnaise."

http://ja6.free.fr/fichiers/f1098.htm
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Old Apr 15, 16, 11:25 pm
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I do think when I've seen the French eating duck with mustard it's been at simple dining places rather than places serving elaborate dishes. So maybe there are some fruit duck dishes to be had in France.

I just don't care for any type of sweetness with meat. We went out to dinner with friends and afterwards the friends joined us at home for cake and ice cream. I drank a glass of wine as I just couldn't stand the idea of cake. I just don't love sweet things all the time. There are exceptions to that rule, though!
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