This page discusses how to serve foie gras.
There are two main approaches to serving fois gras, depending on whether it is:
Store-bought, ready to serve: Almost everyone (99%) serves ready-made foie gras, including most medium-class restaurants in France. The following topics on this page discuss options for serving ready-made foie gras.
Prepared and cooked yourself: In this case, it is generally served hot. The individual recipe you use should specify how you should serve it, as not all of the following is applicable for home-made foie gras.
Foie Gras is normally served as a starter (prior to the main course). In some cases it is the main course, but this is relatively rare. For most people, foie gras is far too rich to be a main course.
Ready-made foie gras can be served at room temperature, or slightly chilled. The warmer it is, the smoother its texture and the fuller the taste. However, most people prefer it slightly chilled as they find the taste excessively rich at room temperature.
Consequently, if you have stored the Foie Gras at room termperature (e.g. canned foie gras) you may wish to put it in the refrigerator for a while before serving, so that it will be slightly chilled.
Alternatively, if you have been keeping it in the fridge, remove it from the fridge an hour or so before serving so that it can warm up. Many people suggest removing it from the fridge only 20 minutes before serving, but connoisseurs recognise that the full taste is only appreciated if the fois gras is not cold, so suggest that it is removed from the refrigerator almost an hour before served.
So, while foie gars should be chilled rather than cold, the exact amount of chilling is a matter of personal taste. In general, people who are new to foie gras prefer moderately chilled while some who eat it on a regular basis tend towards merely lightly chilled.
Dividing into individual portions
The foie gras should be cut into slices about 1 cm thick. If you have been keeping it in the Fridge, wait until it warms up before cutting it, as cold foie gras tends to break rather than cut. Use a sharp smooth-edged knife (i.e. don't use a knife with teeth) to cut the foie gras. If the foie gras is still a bit chilled, running the knife under hot water and then drying the knife makes it easier to cut.
Place one or two slices on each plate. As foie gras is very rich, it is not served in large quantities. Approximately 50g (2 ounces) per person is about right.
Foie gras can be eaten on its own with a fork.
However, with the exception of connoisseurs, most people find that it is too rich on its own. The most traditional accompaniment is toast made from thinly cut white bread, cut into triangles. Guests cut off pieces and place them on the toast before eating. In practice, most people actually spread the foie gras on the bread, despite the "rule" that one should cut chunks rather than spread.
There are many other ways of serving foie gras. It often comes with a few leaves of lettuce, although this is mainly for decoration. If lettuce or salad is provided, it should be without salad dressing as salad dressing would clash with the taste of the foie gras.
In general, sweet-sour items go best with foie gras. For example, cranberry jelly or oriental chutney often find favour.
In any case, remember that the centrepiece of any foie gras dish is the foie gras itself. One can provide toast, a few leaves of lettuce, or even some jelly. However, the plate should be dominated by the foie gras itself. It is better to serve it on its own, or with just a bit of toast, rather than hide it (either visually or taste-wise) by too much of other accompaniments.
Many people enjoy a small glass of dessert wine (a dessert wine is a very sweet wine normally typically served with desserts, but can also be served as an aperitif or with certain dishes) with foie gras. The best choice for this is a good Sauternes (if you can afford it). Some people will argue that a dessert wine takes away from the taste of the foie gras, others that it complements it very well. I personally enjoy it but I always ask before serving it to my guests as I've found that about half of them strongly agree and half strongly disagree.
Although Sauternes is the best dessert wine to serve with foie gras, you can also serve Juraçon, Monbazillac or Bergerac. Foie Gras from Alsace is often accompanied by Alsatian wines (e.g. Gewurtztraimer, preferably a sweet late harvest).
Some people enjoy a port with foie gras. Personally I feel that this does the foie gras an injustice, but if people enjoy it..............
More about Foie Gras
For more information, click on the Foie Gras Recipe Home.