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Types of Foie Gras

Foie gras is produced from the fatty liver of a goose or a duck.

 

Goose foie gras has a very smooth and creamy texture, like silk. It's flavour is rich, subtle and sophisticated. However, it is more expensive and less available than duck foie gras.

 

Approximately 95% of the foie gras produced in France is from ducks, with the remaining 5% coming from geese. The flavour and texture of duck foie gras are more rustic and more pronounced than goose foie gras. It also has a stronger aroma.

 

Which is best depends partly on individual preference. Among connoisseurs, goose foie gras is generally consider superior due to its more delicate and silky taste. However, many people find the delicacy borders on blandness and prefer the fuller flavour of duck foie gras.

 

Types of Foie Gras

 

Foie Gras normally comes in one of four forms:

  • Foie gras cru. This is raw foie gras ("cru" means raw). If you are cooking and preparing foie gras yourself, this is what you will need. However, most people buy foie gras already cooked and ready to eat, which is the next three types.

  • Foie gras frais. This is fois gras which has been freshly prepared and cooked ("frais" means fresh). It will keep about one week in the refrigerator (check the best-before date).

  • Foie gras mi-cuit. Mi-cuit translates as "semi-cooked" or "medium-cooked". In fact, the foie gras has been fully cooked and is ready to eat, but it has been cooked at a moderate temperature (70ºC to 80ºC) so it will keep only up to 3 months even though it is bottled or canned (check the best-before date).

  • Fois gras en conserve. This is like foie gras mi-cuit, except that it has been cooked at a higher termperature (105ºC to 115ºC). The higher temperature means that it will keep for years, provided the can is not opened.

Preparation

 

Fois gras which is sold ready to eat can be prepared in various ways.

  • It may consist of a whole liver, part of a liver, or a block made from pieces of liver (which may or may not include chunks of liver).

  • It can be sold 100% pure, which means that the only other ingredients are salt, pepper and a "noble" alcohol (such as cognac or armagnac

  • Alternatively, it can be stuffed with truffles or combined with other ingredients to make mousses or gelantines

 

There are a number of different labels to reflect these types of preparation. For example:

  • Foie gras d'oie entier. A whole goose liver.

  • Fois gras de canard entier. A whole duck liver.

  • Parfait de foie gras. As least 75% foie gras; the remaining 25% is usually chicken liver.

  • Foie gras truffle. Foie gras with truffles. If the percentage of truffle is less than 3%, the percentage must be stated on the container.

  • Bloc de Foie Gras. A block of cooked foie gras made up of smaller pieces which have been pressed together. It may contain water and seasoning but must be minimum 98% foie gras. The better grades are labeled "bloc de foie gras avec morceaux", which is "block of foie gras with pieces of foie gras".

  • Mousse of Foie Gras. Pieces of foie gras are ground or pureed together and then whipped into a mousse. May contain other items such as water or Crème Fraîche, but must be minimum 50% foie gras.

  • Pate de Foie Gras. Usually foie gras combined with other meats (e.g. pork, duck, veal) but must be minimum 50% foie gras. It is often served with crackers or toast.

Country of Origin

 

Foie gras is produced in a number of countries, but France is generally accepted as producing the best quality. It has the longest current tradition of foie gras production and is the main producer (two-thirds of world productions) and consumer (three quarters of world production) of this product. The main production area in France is the south-west, in particular the department of Gers (Gascony).

 

That being said, very good foie gras is produced in a number of other countries, including USA and Canada. After France, the largest producer is Hungary.

 

More about Foie Gras

 

For more information, click on the Foie Gras Recipe Home.

 
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