Foie gras is one of the most popular and well-known delicacies in
French cuisine and its flavour is described as rich, buttery, and
delicate, unlike that of a regular duck or goose liver. It can be sold
whole, or prepared into mousse, parfait, or pâté (the lowest quality),
and is typically served as an accompaniment to another food item, such
as toast or steak.
This fattened liver is produced by using a traditional technique known as Gavage, this is the force feeding of ducks and geese to fatten their livers to produce 'foie-gras-de-canard' or 'foie-gras-d'oie'.
The technique of gavage dates as far back as 2500 BC, when the ancient Egyptians began keeping birds for food and deliberately fattened the birds through force-feeding. Today, France is by far the largest producer and consumer of this famous french food.
Traditionally, in the South-West of France where this is mainly produced, it is womens work and they are called gaveuses. There are special markets to display this produce and it is truly a respected industry, women of all ages take pride in exchanging stories on how their 'Foie-Gras' fairs in the colour, texture and taste counters.
This Famous Food is expensive, this fattened liver is worth at least 10 times more than the rest of the bird, called the paletot which doesn't go to waste. The breasts are vacuum packed and sold as magret while the rest is sold to make confits.
'Foie-Gras-d'Oie' is about twice the size of the 'Foie-Gras-de-Canard'. They are usually preserved by canning or by barely cooking ie mi-cuit or semi cuit, then vacuum packed. This means they will last for up to one month.
It is an extremely delicate piece of meat and can be totally destroyed if overcooked. If all the fat runs out it will just melt away so take care in it's preparation!!