Ortolan Style Fluffies by FlameAres

The ortolan bunting is a small bird native to Eurasia which migrates to Africa once a year. They’re about six inches long when fully grown, but maybe a third of that is just tailfeathers. The French, as is their wont, have developed a most vile and decadent way of eating them. First they have to catch them in nets, because apparently domestication was never considered. The bird is then placed in a small, dark box and given all the grain it can eat. For some reason, this causes the bird to gorge itself endlessly, and for some reason people figured this out. After a period that isn’t specified, as no sources can bring themselves to describe the process in detail, but presumably weeks, the ortolan has grown to double its original size. You can imagine that its entire body has taken on a characteristic of foie gras, a mix of buttery fat and delicate tissue. When it’s time to cook the poor bird, the ortolan is thrown into a container of Armagnac, alive and feathered, and left to flail until it drowns. Now its lungs are full of brandy. It’s roasted for eight minutes, the traditional sign to stop is when it “sings” presumably as the fluid in its lungs begins to boil. Then the ortolan is plucked and eaten in a very peculiar way.

Enjoyers would hold it by the head and lower the whole bird into their mouth, feet first. A great deal of slurping of unctuous juices is involved, and the other hand remains free to pick out only the largest bones, leaving the eating experience uninterrupted. Typically the bones are eaten as well, giving a hollow, brittle cracking sound as they chew. To top it all off, partakers of ortolan traditionally cover their head and face with a large napkin while eating, shrouding the act from view. Gourmands will tell you this is to trap the wonderful aromas of the bird and enhance the experience of eating it. More self aware individuals will admit it’s to hide from God and the world the shame of what they’re doing.

Unfortunately shame was never much of a consideration for French people, and they ate so many of the things that ortolan were noticeably declining on a global scale. In 1999 the hunting of ortolan was banned in France, but between 1997 and 2007 their population in the country still dropped by 30%. After that even more laws were passed to protect the species, both by the French government and the European Union, but studies as recent as 2019 suggest the ortolan is still in decline. As an attempt to give the ortolan some reprieve, the EU started a campaign to popularize eating fluffies “ortolan style.” It took a few years, and accidentally resulted in a feral population establishing itself around the country, but ortolan style fluffy became a staple in the streets of Paris and country villages alike.

To make a fluffy ortolan style you first choose your ingredients. When a dam first gives birth her foals are evaluated for size and any developmental defects. Runts, as well as especially big foals are immediately weeded out, as being either too big or too small will interfere with the preparation process. Runts tend to open their eyes later, and have a harder time gaining weight, whereas an overdeveloped fluff will have bones that are unpleasant to chew. In rural areas the mother is usually a feral fluffy found by chance, or a captured fluffy that’s been tamed for a local celebration. Either way they’ll be reared outdoors, in a backyard or a barn. In cities there are stores who specialize in rearing fluffies to eat ortolan style, as well as poulains à naître cuits dans le ventre and other fluffy based delicacies. Choice ortolan fluffies are kept with their mothers and their siblings are removed, either relocated or disposed of. Mares are fed diets that are high in grains and vitamin B9, typically found in tomatoes, which promotes the production of milk.

For the first week of life the foal is left with its mother. As most fluffy litters are between 4 and 6 foals, an only child will never be left wanting for milk. After it’s grown past the newborn stage, the culinary process begins. When the foal isn’t feeding, it’s taken away from its mother. This is obviously distressing to both parent and child, and after several days of this the foal is conditioned to constantly suckle, stopping only to switch teats or relieve itself. Ortolan foals are typically left in this state until they open their eyes, by which time they’re about the size of a human fist. The foal is then drained from both ends, and cleaned, and is now ready for the Armagnac. The traditional method is still used often, simply placing the now talking foal into a jug until it stops wiggling, but with the popularity of normal fluffy abuse there are many creative options. Some like to give their ortolan fluffies obstacle courses, some will perform mock baptisms, or even waterboard them with brandy.

However long it takes the fluffy to die, its body is dried and then roasted over a fire, first singeing the hairs off in lieu of plucking. Once the ortolan style fluffy “sings,” or screes as people have taken to calling it, its skin will be golden brown and the fat in its body will be rendered throughout. Then eating can finally begin. An ortolan style fluffy is small enough that you can eat the entire thing without risk of choking on bones. Most people will drape a specialized towel, larger than a typical napkin, over their head and shoulders to leave their hands free. Others will use a napkin, and hold it in front of their face to hide their chewing. Although you can’t see it, the first bite can consist of anything from a single leg to the foal’s entire pelvic region, opening up the abdominal cavity and letting juices and rendered fat drip out. An enormous amount of slurping can be heard, as well as the squish of fatty meat and the crunch of bone. You can tell it’s bone just by the sound, it’s very different from the crunch of bread or bacon. Diners will make their way up the body from there, being sure to crunch the ribs and leg bones thoroughly to avoid discomfort. Many stop at the neck, considering the head to be a leftover, but many others will pop it into their mouth as a Tootsie Pop-like treat.

Despite its popularity in France, ortolan style fluffies is still a relatively unknown dish abroad. Even within the country, a stigma akin to the American attitude towards fluffy abuse keeps the practice as an open secret of sorts. While it isn’t hidden, it’s also not talked about in detail. Conservationists credit the ortolan style fluffy program with helping the ortolan bunting recover its historical populations in the wild, but have difficulty being honest with the feral fluffy’s impact on local wildlife. Animal rights activists both globally and locally argued the practice of ortolan fluffies as no better than the original, and perhaps crueler, but the official position of the French government is similar to the United States. Fluffies are not animals, so any ill treatment of them isn’t animal abuse. Additionally, in the case of ortolan, fluffies serve as a renewable, domesticated way to replace a wild animal so as to not deplete its population. A centuries old French tradition is preserved, while avoiding the ecological devastation that other foods such as caviar can wreak on wild animal populations. Any reports of ortolan style fluffies being deliberately eaten in front of their knowing mothers for entertainment purposes are completely unfounded, and even if they were true it wouldn’t be illegal.


I recently saw this Sam O’Nella video and I just had to make something based off of the ortolan. I was both horrified and not at all surprised that French people would invent something like this, as the other controversial food they’re known for is foie gras. They’ve been doing insane shit to food for a long time, abusers could learn from them. I borrowed poulains à naître cuits dans le ventre, a Google translation of unborn foals stewed in the belly from an @innshiprion post that had the exact same vibe as how ortolan are cooked.

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I believe there was a comic about this https://youtu.be/xXw6yIVPbzk?si=NvB4YFg-AyMIF338

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it makes sense, when I heard about them it was perfect for fluffy adaptation

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Watching sam o’nella i see

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Fluffy foie gras would be interesting. We know they can and will gorge themselves. (There’s a pre-Inquisition method of making foie gras kept alive in Spain that doesn’t require force-feeding. I can see fluffies acting the same way.)

Nice job!

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I always thought that was just an American Dad joke. I didn’t think people did it until I read this, and then googled.
Feathers alone make it sound unappetizing.

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Eating fluffies is sick. Im all gor fluffy torture but dont eat GMO foods especially these disgusting shitrats. Nasty

Vegetarian meat’s gotta come from somewhere.