The making of Foie Gras is an ancestral tradition that dates back more than 4500 years.
A picture on an Egyptian tomb fresco of a slave feeding figs to a goose is proof of this millennium-old tradition (Necropolis of Saqqarah). As the banks of the River Nile were a passage point for the migration of ducks and geese, the Egyptians observed how these birds would stock up fat in their bodies before their journey back after migration season. They began copying this natural habit, adopting the practise of ‘gradual feeding’ (represented in the details of several Egyptian tombs).
This technique caught on, with populations using whatever food was available locally. The technique particularly spread to France in the 18th Century with the arrival of corn in the Southwest.
Migratory birds are able to store large amounts of fat to enable them to fly long distances.
In ducks and geese, these stores are held in the liver.
This has been observed in a number of species for thousands of years, and from this discovery, Foie Gras was born.
A “foie gras” is the healthy liver of an adult duck (or goose), strong and in good health, and raised according to the traditional method: from day one the animals are placed into an incubator for 4-5 weeks.
Once the birds have grown enough feathers to protect themselves, they are allowed outdoors and spent around two and half months in total freedom. Once they are fully-grown, at around 12 weeks old, the birds start receiving controlled, gradual feeding.
After about 3 months the birds reach full adulthood, and for two weeks they are rationed to just two to three daily feeds of corn. This causes the liver to naturally create the fats that turn it into a “foie gras”.
Producing a traditional Foie gGras requires careful attention to every step, as every step of the production requires precise criteria. The setting must be rural to ensure that the production is truly artisanal. The farmers are inspired by ancestral methods, usually passed down through generations of their family. It all begins with the selection of the birds.
The most commonly used ducks are Muscovy ducks or Mullards. As for geese, the Grey Goose from the Landes region in France is the most prized species. These species produce a Foie Gras with a special label to show its superiority. On traditional farms, the animals are free range with a large space to roam within. The farmers are always sensitive to the wellbeing of the animal, and respect the relevant ethical code.
“The populations of Périgord, Gers, the Haute-Garonne, and the neighbouring regions, who are large consumers of duck fat, foie gras and confit, enjoy a coronary mortality rate (cardiovascular diseases) among the lowest in France, and the longest life expectancy” (Renaud, 1994, in “ Le Régime santé” by Serge Renaud, Odile Jacob).
This is what American researchers and Dr Serge Renaud (specialist in the subject) have called “the French paradox”.
Foie gras is rich in unsaturated fats. Eating more unsaturated fats is recommended as it lowers cholesterol.
This could explain the exceptionally long life expectancy of the population of Southwest France.
These days, duck Foie Gras is the most widely consumed. Its taste has proved very popular. Goose Foie Gras, however, is more refined and delicate and is attracting more and more people.
A raw goose liver generally weighs between 600g and 700g, and a raw duck liver usually weighs between 450g and 600g. In all cases there is a minimum weight required in order to be classed as a “foie gras”: 400g for a goose and 300g for a duck.
The color must be uniform and without imperfections, the texture must be smooth, and it must be firm to touch without being hard. Goose liver is slightly more pink in colour.
The raw liver is our primary source for the creation of our Foies Gras Mi-Cuits and our Foies Gras Conserves.
Our chef rigorously selects the livers we use, and never uses imported livers. We are deeply attached to our local region and its values.
All our production is carried out without the use of artificial colorants and preservatives.
These high standards are followed without exception, which is why we receive numerous medals every year (especially at the Paris Agricultural Forum).
Some people buy our Foie Gras in order to fry it. It is therefore sold either vacuum packed or without any specific packaging, as is typical in the Southwest.
It can be kept for up to seven days at a temperature between 0°C and 4°C, or several months if frozen.
There are three regulated products, containing only pure Foie Gras and seasoning:
Whole Foie Gras
This consists of one or several whole livers, and seasoning.
When sliced, it has a uniform color right the way through.
The only seasonings permitted are salt, sugar, spices, herbs, eau-de-vie, liqueur wines and wines. Our Whole Foie Gras is seasoned simply, with just salt, pepper and sugar, in order to emphasise the natural flavour characteristic of Foie Gras.
This is prepared using the best pieces of the livers, which can come from multiple different ducks or geese, and seasoning.
Foie Gras Block
This is prepared using reconstituted Foie Gras and a seasoning. It has a very homogenous look, without any visible fat.
When pieces of liver are added, it becomes a “Foie Gras Block with Pieces”. This makes a very attractive slice where the pieces can be seen, and has a very smooth taste.
Other than these 3 types of pure Foie Gras, there are products that are made from duck or goose Foie Gras.
Foie Gras parfait is made up of at least 75% Foie Gras.
Pâtés and Mousses contain at least 50% Foie Gras.
Some pâtés can contain less.
The shelf life depends on the way in which the Foie Gras is cooked
Within each category of Foie Gras, the products can be split in two general categories according to the way they are cooked. The cooking method determines the texture but also how long the product can be conserved
Foie Gras Mi-Cuit or Semi-Conserved
Our Foie Gras Mi-Cuits have a lovely marble-look when they are sliced as well as an intense smell of duck or goose, something that is very sought after.
Their smooth texture is a bit more firm that the raw Foie Gras, and it can be conserved for up to six months at a temperature of 2°C to +4°C.
In a can, jar or airtight container, it is cooked at a core temperature below 85°C.
Foie Gras Conserve
In a jar or can, this is cooked at a core temperature above 100°C.
Its taste and texture improves with age over the years.The Foie Gras absorbs its own fat and becomes smoother as it ages.
It can be conserved for several years (between 10°C and 20°C).
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