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Foie Gras

Foie gras is one of France’s diamonds in the gastronomical area. Even the French law states that it “belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France”, and it’s probably the most popular best-known delicacy in the French cuisine.


Made of specially fattened duck or goose liver, foie gras has established in time a high standard of a unique, rich, delicate taste. Whether the form chosen, mousse, parfait or pâté, foie gras has a tremendous historical past which no one can deny, but only respect and acknowledge. Achieved in a rather controversial way (force feeding, or gavage, dating back 2500 BC), foie gras is consumed mostly in Europe, but also China or United States.


It seems that back in 2500 BC, Egyptians found a way of forcing by over-feed their birds, but there’s no exact proof that the fattened livers were their first purpose or that they have consider a delicacy. But this technique of overfeeding birds has inspired the Romans, the actual inventors of foie gras, in developing it. “Iecur ficatum” was its name and it’s supposable derived from Hellenistic Alexandria. We shouldn’t be surprised by that, as much of the Roman cuisine was actually inspired by the Greek one.

After the Roman Empire felt, we know little things about foie gras or goose liver. It seems that it was the Jews that carried on the tradition of preparing foie gras, and , thanks to them, we now can serve it everywhere on the planet. Nowadays, France is the leading producer of foie gras, followed by Hungary, Bulgaria, the United States, Canada and China. But, except for France, all these above mentioned countries have little influence and production results compared to France, which produces over 95% of the world’s estimated total production).

As said before, foie gras comes in a variety of forms, more or less expensive, depending on one’s choice:

  • foie gras entiere – stands for whole foie gras, which is made of one or two liver lobes, hence the name
  • foie gras – stands the liver lobe is cut into pieces, which are reassembled together
  • bloc de foie gras – stands for a large piece or block composed of 98% foie gras
  • pâté de foie gras
  • mousse de foie gras
  • parfait de foie gras

  • Depending on what country we’re talking about, foie gras has various ways of preparation and consumption. France uses low heat, while America serves it hot. Hungarians fry it in goose fat or simply roast it, and any other cultures include foie gras in pasta, as a garnish for steaks and even in sushi. Low heat methods transform foie gras in mousses, foams or parfaits, while the hot preparation has a larger variety of options: raw foie gras can be grilled, roasted, sautéed or pan-roasted.

    Fresh, canned, frozen, whatever the form, foie gras can be flavored with lots and lots of surprising ingredients:

  • truffles
  • prunes
  • sweet fruits – pears, cherries, apples, plums, raspberries, blackcurrants etcetera; the fruits can be pureed, turned into sauce, jam, they can be caramelized or stewed
  • in some part of US, foie gras is used as a topping for hamburgers
  • sweet white wine goes perfectly with foie gras
  • sauces are another great match for foie gras, like onion based sauce, red wine, mushroom sauces
  • toasted bread
  • salad leaves
  • steaks
  • celeriac remoulade
  • maple syrup
  • fillet mignon
  • shrimp
  • spinach salad



  • Tags: foie gras, french recipes, cuisine, french, goose liver, appetizers


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