Foie gras

Foie gras . Product that sublimates the table , therefore the basic principle is to conceive it as a tireless search for the best. One of the most select and appreciated products by gourmets, foie gras, that particular development of duck and goose livers , is a gastronomic delight that has come down to us, with inevitable ups and downs, since the earliest times and is still capable of ennoble any table and enhance the most varied elaborations without losing your personality at any time.


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  • 1 History of foie gras
  • 2 Different Foie grass
    • 1 Goose foie gras
    • 2 Duck foie gras
    • 3 Foie gras
    • 4 Truffled foie gras
    • 5 Foie gras mi-cuit or semi-preserved
    • 6 Canned foie gras
  • 3 Nutritional properties of Foie Gras
  • 4 Main producers
  • 5 Sources

Foie gras history

The manufacture of foie gras is an ancestral production that dates back more than 4,500 years. The detail of a fresco in an Egyptian tomb, in which a slave feeding a goose with figs is represented, is a sample of this ancient tradition. (Necropolis of Saqqarah).

The banks of the Nile were a crossing point for the emigration of geese and ducks; the Egyptians were able to observe the natural ability of these birds to accumulate fat reserves before facing the return trip.

They reproduced that natural tendency of the palmípedos and developed progressive feeding techniques (represented in several Egyptian tombs).

This tradition was spread and perpetuated, for example, by the Jewish communities in their exodus, which used fattening geese to produce fat that replaced pork fat (considered inappropriate for consumption).

The origin of Foie Gras is lost in the dream of time. It could be the Egyptians, or the Hebrews, who learned the secrets of this work during their years of slavery along the Nile; but almost certainly, it was the Greeks, and later the Romans, who, in addition to the development of the Mediterranean culture, began the consumption of this delicious delicacy, along with other sophisticated preparations.

From the 1 of January of 1994 , legislation regulates all denominations of the preparations of foie gras, sold in France . The term foie gras refers exclusively to the product made with duck or goose fatty liver; which is achieved by overfeeding the animal for a period of no more than two weeks. In order to be known as FOIE GRAS, a minimum weight of 400 gr must be respected. in a goose foie and 300 gr. in a duck foie. In the fresh state, the foie gras must have a compact and shiny consistency and must be pinkish in color.

Various Foie grass

The fattened liver will become Latin in “Jecur Ficatum” (the liver of figs). Fatty liver appears for the first time on a Roman table in the 1st century BC, in a lavish banquet narrated by Horace (a few words by Horace in his Satire VIII in book II: “And then the servants appeared and brought a tray, with a carved crane, sprinkled with salt and not without flour and the liver of a white goose fed on figs ”.)

The passion of the Romans for liver fattened with figs was such that, from the fourth century onwards, “ficatum” (“with figs”) will become the term to designate the liver of any fattened animal. Some centuries later, it will give rise to the anatomical term “foie”.

During the Roman period, foie gras was first consumed in the “Province” and then, little by little, in the different parts of Roman Gaul, especially in the Southwest.

From the 15th century onwards , Christopher Columbus brought corn from the New World, and foie gras producers immediately noticed the great advantages this cereal offered compared to the figs used until then for fattening ducks and geese. For a long time, the Jews of Central Europe were considered the only ones who knew the secret to obtaining a good foie gras, since it was the alternative to fatty pork when the religious precept that prohibited its consumption prevailed. Back then, goose and duck foie gras pâtés and terrines were produced in the producing regions of Alsace and Southwest France.

The eternal debate is whether it was the Alsatians or the inhabitants of the Périgord region who appropriated the culinary recipe for foie gras. The truth is that the honor of its discovery is due to Jean Pierre Clause, cook of the Alsatian Marshal Contades (governor of Strasbourg in 1772) in 1762. Since then, the royal palate has elevated the product, which no longer moved from the sovereign’s table. Thus, he passed from generation to generation, sharing privileges with royalty, who paid him an understandable cult and all kinds of honors. Along with the Crown and the consequent transfer of power, Louis XV and Louis XVI ascended the throne of France, who inherited unchanged taste for foie gras, the new gastronomic luxury of the court. Paradoxically In the 17th and 18th centuries,

In the 19th century , the improvement of sterilization procedures favored trade, which, through the spread of its foies gras throughout the world, would be one of the blazons of French gastronomy. Since that time, foie gras has been part of the culinary and cultural heritage of France .

Goose foie gras

  • Weight between 500 and 900 grams fresh.
  • Rounded contour shape with two lobes of practically the same size.
  • Pink color and fine and creamy texture.
  • Smooth and subtle flavor, with a delicate and creamy texture.

Duck foie gras

  • Weight between 300 and 600 grams.
  • Triangular shape with one lobe much larger than the other.
  • Yellow color.
  • Strong and penetrating flavor and aroma, with a point of acidity.

In addition to the characteristics detailed above, the most important difference between goose and duck foie gras lies in the percentage of fat released during its preparation. Thus, while goose foie does not lose more than 3% of its fat during cooking, duck foie can exude up to 50% of the fat.

Only 3 denominations can use the term “foie gras” in the sales denomination; they should only contain foie gras and a condiment.

The authorized condiments are salt , sugar , spices and aromatic plants, spirits , liqueurs and wines .

Foie gras

It is made with pieces of compressed fatty liver lobules.

  • Foie gras entier: This term is used when it is made up of 100% liver: one lobe, several lobes or a portion of lobe and a condiment, depending on the quantity offered.
  • Bloc de foie gras: This is a preparation made up of reconstituted foie gras and a condiment. It is 100% liver, partly crushed, with a minimum of 35% pieces of whole liver.

When pieces of lobes of foie gras are included, it is called a “piece of foie gras block” and in this case it has a nice cut in which the pieces are visible.

Apart from these 3 denominations, there are preparations based on goose or duck foie gras. Within the same denomination, depending on their way of cooking, the foie gras are divided into two main categories that determine the texture and also the shelf life.

Truffled foie gras

This term can only be used when the foie contains at least 3% truffle in its elaboration.

Foie gras mi-cuit or semi-preserved

It is the foie that has undergone a semi-cooking process, is already denervated and is sold in a glass, terrine or roll mold. It cooks at 64-85 ° C in heart. It keeps practically intact all the organoleptic qualities of the product. Its creamy texture is slightly firmer than that of raw foie gras.

Canned foie gras

In a glass container or in a pot, cook at 110 ° C in the heart. Its texture, even more unctuous than the previous ones, evolves over the years. Foie gras absorbs its own fat, gaining smoothness as it ages. It can be kept for several years (10 to 15 ° C).

  • Foie gras perfait: Contains at least 75% fatty liver in its mixture, plus 25% lean bird liver or duck fat.
  • Canard: Means duck in French, and is also used in Spanish.
  • Bloc of foie gras with pieces: It is a meat mass of fatty liver with 50% of pieces of lobes.
  • Goose or duck pâté: Pâtés, mousses or galantines contain at least 50% foie gras. It is an elaborated meat dough that in addition to including duck or goose livers can also include its meat and the livers of other birds, in addition to bacon.
  • Duck mousse: Product with a minimum of 50% foie gras, plus 50% of another element such as milk, egg or liver of an animal without fattening. It is a very fine meat dough, with a very smooth texture.
  • Duck liver mousse. Pâtés, creams and purees. Products whose composition contains less than 50% foie gras.

Nutritional properties of Foie Gras

Foie gras provides 518 calories per 100 gr, contains 33% water, between 7 to 4% protein, 10% carbohydrates and, very importantly, 42 to 50% fat. For this last reason it was highly discredited nutritionally and mainly by doctors. Today, after complex and detailed studies carried out in Toulouse (city with the lowest death rate from diseases of the circulatory system in industrialized countries; where not only is foie gras eaten in abundance, but the fattened duck from which it is extracted the foie gras, as well as the duck and goose fat and its skins fried in strips, accompanied all, in addition, with red wine in large quantities), it was concluded that fats were only 28.6% saturated, but 59.9% monounsaturated and 11.5% polyunsaturated, which have an anti-cholesterol effect and that the tannin of wine, especially red wine, was, in small quantities, a powerful cholesterol

Main producers

France produces more than 8,000 tons per year in various regions: South-West (goose and duck); the Vandée; the Loire river region (duck); Alsace (goose); and imports more than 2,000 tons from Israel , Hungary, Bulgaria , Poland and Yugoslavia .

China has also started to produce it on a large scale. They begin to produce it in Australia , New Zealand and even the United States . On a small scale it occurs in Mexico , Cuba , Peru , Chile , Tunisia, Madagascar and others.


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