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Foie gras

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Foie gras

Foie gras is a food product made of the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened. This fattening is typically achieved through gavage (force-feeding) corn, according to French law, though outside of France it is occasionally produced using natural feeding. Pâté de foie gras was formerly known as "Strasbourg pie" in English due to that city being a major producer of this food product.

Foie gras is a popular and well-known delicacy in France and abroad. The flavor of foie gras is described as rich, buttery and delicate. The foie gras can be found whole or prepared into mousse, parfait or pâté. It can be eaten alone or served as an accompaniment to another dish.

French law states that "Foie gras belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France."

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 foie gras, though it is produced and consumed worldwide, particularly in other European nations, the United States, and the People's Republic of China.

Forms of foie gras

In France, foie gras exists in different, legally-defined presentations, from the expensive to the cheap:

  • foie gras entier (whole foie gras), made of one or two whole liver lobes; either cooked (cuit), semi-cooked (mi-cuit), or fresh (frais);
  • foie gras, made of pieces of livers reassembled together;
  • bloc de foie gras, a fully-cooked, molded block composed of 98% or more foie gras; if termed avec morceaux ("with pieces"), it must contain at least 50% foie gras pieces for goose, and 30% for duck.

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