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fraise de veau

calf’s ruffle tripe

Boiled calf's ruffle

How many innocent diners have wondered why calves in France have strawberries? The fraise de veau or veal ruffle, is actually the membrane that surrounds the calf's small intestine. The tripe maker opens it, washes it and pours in boiling water; this makes it white and firm, giving it the appearance of the old fashioned white ruffle collars or ruffs that the French for some reason call ‘strawberries’.

The Regentesses of St Elizabeth Hospital, Haarlem (detail) by Verspronck

Anyway, that’s their explanation and they’re sticking to it.

It’s inexpensive, eaten hot or cold, or stuffed in an andouillette.

The word fraise is also used for the ‘ruffles’ of lamb (fraise d’agneau) and kid (frais de chevreau).


Text © Dana Facaros

Images by Flblbl, Johannes Verspronck