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Jan 12, 2007 05:36 PM


I'm going to be dining at a restaurant featuring "Venison civet" as a menu choice in the coming month. Is this indeed the anal scent gland of a deer? Has anybody ever had it? What's it like? I've never heard of civet being used in food!

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  1. Oh good God no! "Civet" is just an Italian and French technique for cooking game; marinating it with red wine, juniper berries, onions, and herbs.

    Oh, and "civet" the cooking term comes from the Latin word for onion: cepa.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bostonbob3

      >>Oh, and "civet" the cooking term comes from the Latin word for onion: cepa.<<

      *Cepa* is also the source of English *chive*.

    2. Whew! That was a close call ;-) There is a cat-ish looking animal called a civet too. Musk from the Civet once was important in the perfume trade, maybe that's the connection here?

      2 Replies
      1. re: HaagenDazs

        Different etymology. "Civet" as in civet cat is derived from Arabic.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          LOL, the first thing that came to my head when civet was mention was the animal. Hmmm... I wonder how civet and venison would match?

      2. civet cats are related to mongoose. i doubt they taste anything like venison, lol.

        3 Replies
            1. re: Bostonbob3

              I knew that they ate civet cat in Asia, but I was unaware until now of the Continental cooking techqnique called "civet."

              One learns something new every day....

          1. Actually, Civet is an old school French soup thickened with animal blood.

            5 Replies
            1. re: dublix

              AND a cooking/marinade technique for game, which I think applies more to a dish called "Venison Civet."

              1. re: Bostonbob3

                A traditional "Civet" is a soup that is thickened by the animals blood. If it does not use the animals blood as a thickening agent, technically, it is not called a "Civet". At least by French terms. I'm pretty damn sure Civet is not a marinade, or a cooking technique.

              2. re: dublix

                Actually, civet is a stew, not a soup, traditionally made from game (wild rabbit, wild boar, venison, etc.), pearl onions and lardons (bacon chunks). The braising liquid is typically red wine with some of the animal's blood being added as a thickener at the end.

                1. re: carswell

                  Stew, soup, drink, game, or chicken. It can't be called civet if its not thickened with blood, that's I'll I'm getting at.

                  1. re: dublix

                    You'll find that most civet in France is no longer thickened with blood. Certainly most of what I had wasn't -- and it was typically civet de lapin.

                    I suppose some of the blood gets in because you're cooking meat (which contains blood, unless it's been kashered, unlikely in French cuisine), but it isn't typically added exprès.

              3. Geez - along the same lines as Robert Lauriston... too many meanings for one word!