‘Waiter! My Flies are on Fire!’

The aphrodisiac qualities of certain foods have been a source of contention for centuries. But French chef Jean-Louis Galland wanted to put the matter beyond doubt. He created a FF200 ($32) 'Menu Viagra' at his restaurant at the Hotel de la Renovation, close to the shores of Lake Geneva in Thonon-les-Bains. With characteristic flair and imagination, M. Galland wove his gourmand magic, creating a 'beef piccata in Viagra sauce with fig vinegar and fine herbs' alongside a langoustine salad and nougat ice cream with berry and ginger sauce, topped with mint.

While Viagra had already been approved in August last year by the Swiss authorities, where M Galland bought his supplies, France had yet to give its approval. Inspectors from the bureau of consumer affairs and the repression of fraud were quickly on the scene, seizing his supplies and charging him with importing and using a banned drug. The case finally reached court this week, with the threat of a $40,000 fine and as much as two months in prison looming over the hapless chef. Viagra's manufacturer, Pfizer, were less than sympathetic: "The objective of a medication is not to be used in a sauce," said a company representative. "This is an illegal act. It's not a joke, you can't give this to just anyone. There could be unforeseen consequences." In the end, M Galland was acquitted on all charges. "The whole thing has been a waste of time," he said afterward. "This is a drug to make love with, not war."