back to article French duck-crushing device sells for €40k

A duck-crushing device pertaining to posh Paris eatery Tour d'Argent has sold at auction for a wallet-draining €40,000. The silver-plated duck press was specifically created for the preparation of the restaurant's signature canard à la presse, and had been expected to attract around €4,000-€6,000 when it went under the hammer …

  1. Tromos

    Absolutely horrendous...

    ...on the other hand, may I recommend the stretched duck.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Absolutely horrendous...

      Is that like a rack of lamb?

    2. hplasm

      Re: Absolutely horrendous...

      Not just now- it's Owl Stretching Time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Absolutely horrendous...

        I'd say bloody disgusting

    3. Archie Woodnuts

      Re: Absolutely horrendous...

      Meh, it's no Ortolan.

      1. NotBob

        Re: Absolutely horrendous...

        I fear this discussion may become heated

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Absolutely horrendous...

          It makes my blood boil, ducky.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Absolutely horrendous...

            >It makes my blood boil, ducky.

            To mis-quote Blackadder

            Rather a ducky than a quack

      2. Frumious Bandersnatch

        Re: Absolutely horrendous...

        no Ortolan ...

        but sounds quite like cuy chactado (squashed and fried guinea pig, as already featured as a post-pub deathnosh).

    4. Mpeler

      Re: Absolutely horrendous...

      Sounds like fowl play to me...

      (OK, it doesn't look like a duck, doesn't walk like a duck, and doesn't quack like a duck. But it likes to use duck tape...)(ouch)(and read DuckTales)...

    5. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Absolutely horrendous...

      Well, is it really, the duck is dead I assume and plucked. Not that I have ever seen one of those but I feel a slight scent of Brit/French love here. And wow for barbaric in the link "duck in blood sauce is an antique, spectacular, barbaric and sophisticated recipe". I would probably rather have that than kidney pie even, assuming it was prepared in a less barbaric way.

      For horrendous, have a look at how your sausages are made. Sorry. Hats and coats.

  2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Ahh the French

    Finding new ways to kill and torture animals since 1789.

    Rumour has it they invited the Guillotine for food preparation but rejected it as too humane.

    Only food shortages stopped Mary Anne Toinette being stuffed with Corn until she exploded.

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Ahh the French

      From a brief RTFA, the duck is already dead (and roasted) before it goes into the press, so I don't really see what all the fuss is about wrt this recipe. The finished article looks deeply uninspiring, though, so don't think I'll be bothering. For me, a better use of duck is crispy cooked, with a coating of hoisin and wrapped in a thin pancake with cucumber & spring onion. YMMV, though. If someone wants to pay €70 for half a duck prepared in this way, that's their prerogative.

      1. g e

        No NOM icon :o(

        So you get a pint

      2. John Gamble

        Re: Ahh the French

        Yes, the author of the article states "It is not a modern recipe, the blood taste is quite strong and frankly, is not the best way to serve duck."

        I'm guessing demand for the dish isn't terribly high. The same article mentioned that the restaurant has two such devices, one reserved as a backup in case the one normally used breaks. But if there isn't much call for the dish, then selling one of them makes sense.

        1. Spudley

          Re: Ahh the French

          > if there isn't much call for the dish, then selling one of them makes sense.

          Frankly, if they can get €40k a piece (and they should be able to, as there must have been at least one other bidder willing to go that far), then selling both of them would make sense. They're not to make the much money from selling actual squashed ducks any time soon, even allowing for a sudden surge in demand.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Ahh the French

            >there must have been at least one other bidder willing to go that far

            To get another 40k you'd need at least two other bidders willing to go that far. If there was only one, then at the next auction it will sell for as much as the third bidder was willing to go. Now if the winning bidder wants a pair then the losing bidder might push them to 40K again or he might just have had too much sherry the first time and with a clear mind wouldn't go so far. Auctions are a funny thing, you never can tell until the lot's up there.

      3. Arctic fox
        Thumb Up

        @JetSetJim Re:"...............a better use of duck is crispy cooked......"

        Indeed, one of my and Madam Fox's favourites. One should not of course forget the option to roast the cojones off it, rip it to shreds and serve with Chinese pancakes, fine sliced vegetables and your favourite sauces. One of our favourite meals for high days and holy days.

        Edit: Sorry old chap, read your post a bit too quickly. Thought you were talking about roasting whole but I now realise that we were talking about the same dish. I.e. Peking duck. We love it!

        1. Mpeler

          Re: @JetSetJim ...............a better use of duck is crispy cooked......"

          A couple orders the "Chicken Surprise" at a Chinese restaurant. The waiter brings the meal, served in a lidded pot. Just as the wife is about to serve herself, the lid rises slightly. Two little eyes look around before the lid slams back down.

          "Good grief, did you see that?" she asks her husband. He didn't, so she asks him to look in the pot.

          Again, the lid rises. He sees two little eyes before it slams down. He calls the waiter over and demands an explanation.

          "I made a mistake," says the waiter. "I brought you Peeking Duck."

      4. Mpeler

        Re: Ahh the French

        So then they would be Hoisin by their own Canard, so to speak...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ahh the French

      Now, now Gordon, don't get in such a flap about it.

      1. Swarthy

        Re: Ahh the French

        That's just a base canard!

    3. zen1

      Re: Ahh the French

      I don't know what the big deal is... Lord knows when someone blows their nose it turns into a delicacy somewhere in the world...

  3. Electron Shepherd

    Is this true?

    I think it might be a rumour...

    I canard-ly belive it!

    1. m0rt

      Re: Is this true?

      It certainly is a fowl way to prepare what is, after all, just a ducking delicacy. No real pressing need for it.

    2. TitterYeNot

      Re: Is this true?

      "I canard-ly belive it!"

      I don't believe it eider, what an offal story...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is this true?

        Judge: You stand accused of an act of cruelty to a duck. What do you say to this?

        Chef: Mallard, the duck was already dead.

        Anon, because that's really weak, even by the standards of El Reg comments section puns.

        1. Arctic fox

          @AC "the duck was already dead."

          No he wasn't, he was just pining for the fjords. I know, I know, see icon.

          1. Mpeler

            Re: @AC "the duck was already dead."

            Like the old commercial, "Have you driven a fjord, lately"...

            [Gets me coat, now where's that getaway car,,,]

        2. Mpeler

          Re: Is this true?

          He didn't know, the pun was loaded...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope the new owner donates the thing ...

    ... to the Hydraulic Press Channel of current YouTube fame. Better it gets flattened, than any more ducks. Eww.

    1. SimonL

      Re: I hope the new owner donates the thing ...

      But will it blend? :)

  5. hi_robb


    This is in the press everywhere...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No wonder it sold for so much, have you seen the bill...

  7. Missing Semicolon Silver badge


    ... the duck IS dead before it's squished. Sheesh!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sigh...

      Of course it's dead - roasting it ensures that...

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: sigh...

        and was it dead before... oh wait , i see what you did there....

    2. Tromos

      Re: sigh...

      Yes, but if the little bastard is just playing dead (and roasted) this'll make sure!

  8. kmac499

    A friend had a major 'anniversaire de mariage' dinner at the Tour'. The numbered certificate is among her most prized possesions. Personally I'll stick to crispy shredded with sauce, cucumber sticks and pancakes..

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      I'll see your crispy aromatic duck with hoisin, and raise you peking duck.

  9. Alister Silver badge

    So, the outcome is effectively cooked roadkill.

    I wonder how they present that elegantly on a plate?

    Anyway, can't stop, I'm off to buy a pre-cooked chicken, I wonder what it'll look like with a Land Rover tyre print, tasteful, non?

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Maybe they use the pancaked duck as the plate?

    2. Paul Woodhouse

      that'll be remarkably similar to how proper salt and pepper chicken as in the Taiwanese street food looks when you get the genuine article :D...

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      When my brother was looking for a country pub, one of them did fancy french grub. And they had a duck press. They're sufficiently expensive that it was individually named as part of the fixtures and fittings coming with the lease.

      It was the place's signature dish. As I understand it, the waiter brings your roast duck to the table. Carves it, then shoves the carcass in the press. Crushes it, strains the resulting juices, adds a tonne of port, and serves that as the gravy.

      I like gravy, but it's not exactly the nicest process that goes into making it. There can be offal, fat, juices from the roasting, other odds and ends, flour... I can't imagine why you'd want to look at it, just before you sit down to eat.

      1. Triggerfish

        Yup I do not see a problem with the gravy ingredients, in fact could be quite nice, I do not want to see smeone crushing the carcass though I don't get it.

    4. TeeCee Gold badge
      Coat they present that elegantly...

      Michelin tread patterns......

    5. Captain DaFt

      "So, the outcome is effectively cooked roadkill."

      There's naught wrong with roadkill!

  10. Anonymous Blowhard

    Looks like the Kitten Stomper might fail on prior-art...

  11. TRT Silver badge

    Mallard fizz for me, please.

    Squeeze of lemming, sir?

  12. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

    3 course meal?

    From the linked article...

    "[...]The magrets are served covered in the sauce. The ducks' thighs continue to cook while you eat and they come in a second service, without sauce[...]"

    "[...]Finally, the bill comes."

    Those crazy Frenchies will eat anything

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: 3 course meal?

      I know. They're all quackers...

    2. Mpeler

      Re: 3 course meal?

      And, playing softly in the background, to the tune of "Betty Davis' Eyes" is "Colonel Sanders' Thighs"...

  13. Nevermind


    Can I just use my fifty quid fruit press? Works fine on the homemade cider.

    First, catch your to the pond then.

    1. Peter Simpson 1

      Re: 40K????

      Simply place the cooked canard between two sheets of waxed paper, on a flat surface behind the rear tyre of your vehicle, and shift into reverse...

      Voila! Your own 40k duck press! And it doubles as transportation.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

        Re: 40K????

        That sounds like the sort of duck press that you find in the Michelin guide

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: 40K????

          in the Michelin guide

          The Bridgestone guide, the Uniroyal guide, the Nokian guide and the Pirelli guide

          (the latter with the device being demonstrated by a rather coatless (and more) female chef)

      2. Sir Barry

        Re: 40K????

        The buyer must be quackers!

        1. TRT Silver badge

          ... or call the breakdown service.


          Automobile sur


          1. Stoneshop Silver badge

            Re: ... or call the breakdown service.

            A friend once found a quite unroasted but still rather pressed chicken between the wheel of his sidecar and the tarmac. Presenting it at the farm to which he presumed the chicken had belonged, the farmer's wife matter-of-factly pronounced "So, that'll be chicken soup tonight".

            The recipe for chicken soup was published in the club newsletter as "Ingredients: one tyre, Metzeler Block K, one chicken (whole), one screwdriver (for removing bits of chicken from tyre)"

  14. M7S

    We should resurrect....

    ...the original bonsai kitten.

    To be clear I am talking about the website, not little Felix, as he's long past any kind of resuscitation.

    Sadly the domain appears to be in the hands of a company that will probably charge a lot for it.

  15. Bronek Kozicki

    say "as soft as a duckling"

    ... while making gesture with your left foot as presented on the picture

  16. Turbo Beholder

    So... "Duck Grinder" by Powerglove is just a minor artistic exaggeration?

  17. 0laf Silver badge

    Duck a la squash

    I thought at first the live duck went in there too.

    Still what an expensive way to make a nice roast duck look horrible.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Rumour mill........

    Its been bought by an unnamed rail franchise; as a way of getting more customers into their trains without the expense of new carriages.

    1. Mpeler

      Re: Rumour mill........

      Non, non, NOT the Orient ex-press?

      Gets me coat ...

  19. MonkeyCee

    price and value

    Since you can get a new one made for about 4-5k, I presume someone wanted it for it's value of having been the "genuine" device at La Tour d'Argent. It's the same way people will pay a fortune for certain arbitrary sparkly stones, and several fortunes for those that have special stories.

    While I do like duck, and blood sauces are quite nice, I'd still probably prefer most of the other stuff on the menu at La Tour d'Argent.

    I'd love to try Ortolan, but that's outlawed now.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: price and value

      I'd love to try Ortolan, but that's outlawed now.

      That's OK. So long as no little bird tells on you...

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: price and value

      "I'd love to try Ortolan, but that's outlawed now."

      Not all it's cut out to be. You would be better served with partridge or quail.

      JMHO, of course.

  20. Bsquared

    The French Press

    I've used a French Press in the lab many years ago for extracting cell juice, and I had idly wondered how it got the name. It was a great beast of thing, designed to squish tissue samples down.

    I got quite excited reading this story, and I thought that some gourmand biologist had been inspired by a tasty dish of duck to bring this technology into the lab. Sadly, and boringly, the French Press was invented by a guy called Charles French. :(

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: The French Press

      I'd always thought it was invented by Bodum.

  21. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    One of these features in the film Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?. (Trailer)

    A number of chefs are killed in ways that are matching their signature dishes, and guess what?

  22. mstreet

    So what?

    I fail to see how this is any more disgusting than the great Canadian tradition of scooping up fresh road kill, wrapping it in tin foil, and popping it under the hood to cook.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if it was purchased by a certain ventriloquists monkey?

  24. jake Silver badge

    I bought mine used ...

    ... at Myers Restaurant Supply in Santa Rosa, California. It's bronze, about 150 years old, and well-worn. Cost USD250. Looks pretty much the same as the one in the article. Maybe I should get it silver-plated & sell it to an idiot ... I've only used it several dozen times in the 30 years I've owned it.

    I, personally, like the end product. Once in a while. Easy to make at home, and relatively inexpensive when you have a nearly inexhaustible supply of duck ;-)

  25. cyber7


    It's a good thing the final scene of "I Spit on Your Grave 2" wasn't filmed in France.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ill stick to blending hamsters in my nutri-bullet thankyouverymuch.

    Hamsters are less trouble than ducks. Id imagine they flap like a bastard when you try and get them in that there contraption. Chasing them down must be knackering as well. Also I hate pulling feathers out my teeth...theres no such problem with hamsters...just run it through a tea strainer, crack in a couple of raw eggs and you have yourself a breakfast treat that helps you lift weights while you code.

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