THE ELAND VENISON DINNER LAST NIGHT.
Last evening, under the presidency of Professor Owen, a party of gentlemen, consisting of members of the Zoological Society and others interested in the progress of Natural History, dined at the Albion Tavern, Aldersgate Street, to -celebrate the introduction, and discuss the merits of Eland venison, a dish which a few years hence may figure as an important item in our national bill of fare.
The flesh of the Eland has been long known to the colonists of South- ern Africa as a delicate and nutritious article of food ; and from the fact of this great Bovine Antelope attaining the size and weight of an ordi- nary ox, its introduction to this country was considered by the Council of the Zoological Society of London to be as desirable for economical purpose; as its exhibition as a species would be valuable to the scientific student. In 1835 the late Earl of Derby, then President of the Society, imported, at considerable expense, the first speci- mens of this antelope which had been seen in England, and at his death bequeathed the series of five animals, two males and three females to the Zoological Society, under whose care they rapidly increased ; and in due time several members of the herd were distributed by sale to the Viscount Hill, of Hawkstone, in Shropshire, the Marquis of Breadalbane, of Taymouth, and Mr. Tation Egerton, of Tatton Park. The well-kept uncultivated lands in England closely resemble the park-like country which the Elands frequent in South Africa, and in their new domiciles these animals flourished in an un- expected manner; mingling with the fallow deer, and being tame and gentle in their habits. Lord Hill was the first to attempt their natural- ization in the extensive range of a private park, and to this spirited nobleman the gastronomic jury were indebted for an opportunity of judging of the flavour of Eland venison.
The choice parts of the animal lately killed were honoured with a place on the tables of her Majesty the Queen, and the Emperor of the French ; but sufficient portions were allowed to the gentlemen at the Albion to enable them to ascertain that the new dish resembled beef, with:a decided flavour of venison, and that the fineness of the fibre and delicacy of the fat were among its most striking characteristics. The animal when killed was five years old, and although not of full size, weighed 1176 lbs. as it fell. This experiment of a new dish is certainly satisfactory, and although Eland venison may not be plentiful for some few years, we hope to see the time when this nutritious food will be brought within the reach of many thousands of persons who at this moment, perhaps, do not know of its existence.