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23/12/2010

Foie Gras Catinel du Bois Bareirou, Foie Gras, Montignac Lascaux


This photo was taken in Montignac, Dordogne, France.
Foie Gras (French for "fat liver") 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. Foie gras is a popular and well-known delicacy in French cuisine. Its flavor is described as rich, buttery, and delicate, unlike that of a regular duck or goose liver. Foie gras is sold whole, or is prepared into mousse, parfait, or pâté (the lowest quality), and may also be served as an accompaniment to another food item, such as steak. French law states that "Foie gras belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France." Another European cuisine employs fattened goose liver almost to the extent as in France; in Hungary, libamáj (lit. 'goose liver') is produced, as in France, both at the small farm and larger commercial levels, and is consumed both plain and in cooking by all levels of society. As with French foie gras, tinned libamáj is exported and can be purchased around Europe and North America.
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. In 2005, France produced 18,450 tonnes of foie gras (78.5% of the world's estimated total production of 23,500 tonnes) of which 96% was duck liver and the rest goose liver. Total French consumption of foie gras was 19,000 tonnes in 2005.
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. Gavage-based foie gras production is controversial due to the force feeding procedure used. A number of countries and other jurisdictions have laws against force feeding or the sale of foie gras.
Though the recent increased availability of foie gras has made it a less exceptional dish (and in some areas of France foie gras is eaten year-round), foie gras is a luxury dish. In France, it is mainly consumed on special occasions, such as Christmas or New Year's Eve réveillon dinners Happy festive season !

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