What Is Foie Gras?

What Is Foie Gras?

When translated from French, Foie Gras quite literally means a fat liver - and, well, technically, it’s just that - a rich, decadent liver of more frequently a duck, but can also be of a goose. It’s one of the quintessential classics of French cuisine and can be utilized in multiple ways, most popular of them being simply searing it on a pan and pairing it with intricate sauces.

In order for foie gras to be as rich and buttery as possible, ducks are usually force-fed - this technique is called gavage, and it dates back as far as 2500 BC to the ancient Egyptians, who were the first to discover that birds could be artificially fattened in order to generate more food. While gavage is the main reason why the production of foie gras is controversial, and many producers definitely abuse their power over the process, without any regard for the ethical treatment of the birds, as in most spheres, there are good and bad ways of producing foie gras as well.

Is Foie Gras Ethical?

When done in moderation, gavage is not that far from the natural process most migrating birds already take part in - once the weather starts getting cold, you’ll notice that most birds start eating significantly more in order to store as much fat as possible to sustain them during their migration process. And, since foie gras is mainly produced from the Moulard ducks, gavage for them is not as unnatural as many might think. Here’s why:

Moulard ducks are the offsprings of female Pekin and male Muscovy ducks. And it’s the qualities of both of their parents that make them a perfect option for producing foie gras. Muscovy ducks are quite well adapted to different temperatures and can survive in cold as well as hot weather - therefore, they are nonmigratory. Pekin ducks, on the other hand, are migratory and have a tendency to stick closely together even in the wild. So Moulard ducks, on the one hand, don’t have any need to migrate but have the ability to consume large amounts of food just like Pekin ducks, and on the other hand, are naturally prone to living in close quarters with each other (granted, that does not justify some farms’ tendencies of not giving them any room to move, but it does make a lot of honest farmers’ job of caring properly for their ducks a lot easier).

The History of Foie Gras

As we already mentioned, the practice of bird-fattening has been utilized back in ancient Egypt. Although ancient Egyptians had more access to geese than ducks, the essential details remained the same. The process of gavage is even depicted in some ancient reliefs (most notable being the bas relief in the necropolis of Saqqara).

However, foie gras as a distinctive dish is more closely associated with ancient Romans. They used to call it Iecur Ficatum - or fig liver - a name most likely derived from the fact that they used to feed geese dried figs in order to fatten them.

In more modern Europe, the appreciation for foie gras grew from the Jewish community and spread across different cuisines pretty quickly. Nowadays, it’s pretty well known that France is the main producer of foie gras as well as its biggest consumer. French foie gras is prized all across the globe, even though there are sustainable productions rapidly gaining fame and earning their customers’ trust in countries like the US and Canada as well - the most notable one being Rougie - a French-Canadian brand producing classics of French cuisine in the Great White North!

How to Cook Foie Gras?

As is the case with most products, there are several ways of cooking duck foie gras - most renowned of them being a simple sear - just slice your foie gras, season well, and sear the slices on a very high heat for a short amount of time to avoid overcooking it. Once it’s done, pair your foie gras with a bright sauce of your choice - foie gras is a pretty rich and buttery product, so we’d advise going for something light and tangy, with a bit of a kick to cut through the decadence of the liver.

However, the most convenient way of consuming foie gras is probably the foie gras mousse - it’s naturally lighter, easier to eat as well as prepare - you can literally just spread some on top of your toast and enjoy a luxurious lunch! Especially if you decide to go for Rougie duck foie gras mousse with truffles - now those are the flavors that don’t need much enhancement at all! In order to make the mousse, cooked foie gras is usually pureed with brandy and butter into a smooth paste. And while we love the richness of classic foie gras, we can’t help but appreciate all the delicate lightness that the whipping process brings to this traditional dish.

 

And for a best of both worlds (and also a bit of cooking that allows you to explore your creative culinary side), there is always Rougie foie gras with truffles - all the luxurious, decadent tastes in one, ready to be enhanced by your skills! If we’re talking classics, this is as classic of a French mix as it gets!

Where to Buy Foie Gras Online? Well, About That…

You’re right where you need to be! Now that you’ve learned a bit more about this French classic and know enough to impress your dinner guests, all that’s left to do is to shop duck foie gras online at Yummy Bazaar and have it delivered straight to your door! Our decadent selection is full of rich, authentically French flavors, waiting to become essential parts of your festive celebrations!

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