Sunday Snapshot | Fine French Cuisine, Foie Gras | Paris, France

Foie gras

I’ll be honest.  I had absolutely no idea what foie gras was before going to France. But when we arrived in the country, we began to see the French delicacy everywhere – on menus, in macarons, in the freezer section… So eventually we ordered a small portion of foie gras to try for ourselves, still not really knowing what it was we were eating, but that it came paired with brie, apple chutney and some greens. After a few hesitant bites, we found the foie gras rich and creamy, with a strong buttery taste. If it wasn’t for the odd texture, we might have actually enjoyed it.

It wasn’t until later that we did a bit of research and discovered the controversy that surrounds this dish. Foie gras is fattened duck or goose liver, achieved by force-feeding the animals. Animal activists say it’s cruel. Anthony Bourdain says it’s not. The French government says “Foie gras belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France.” We fall somewhere in the middle, though we likely won’t be ordering it for ourselves again.

What do you think about foie gras? Have you ever tried it?

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14 Comments

  1. Yes I also tried foie gras when I was in Paris a few years ago. I knew the controversy behind it but I also wanted to try it at least once. I thought it was quite tasty but not sure I’d eat it all the time considering the issues. I’m more in the middle as well.
    Marsha recently posted…Men’s Hockey Gold at Vancouver 2010 OlympicsMy Profile

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    • Thanks for sharing your experience! It’s definitely not a straightforward issue in our opinion.

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  2. I’ve never tried it, but it looks very appealing. My best friend is moving to Paris and I start my master’s degree in Amsterdam this September, so I am planning on visiting her soon so I’ll definitely try some foie gras!
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  3. I also came to know recently what foi gras is. Actually, it was after reading about it in one of Anthony Bourdain’s books and then I googled more about it. Although I understand it is supposed to be delicious, I don’t think I’d eat it for the ethical implications -. I’ve seen photos of how it is made, and it wasn’t pretty.. But I can’t say I am not curious about the taste. I am sure though that there are other animal foods that I do eat and that do not have pretty stories behind them either…
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    • We started talking about exactly the same thing… how many problems there are in the food industry that we aren’t even aware of that are probably much worse. Not to say that force feeding is okay because it is the lesser of the evils, but still. That’s interesting you came to know about it from one of Bourdain’s books!

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  4. I’ve never tried it, even before turning vegetarian. From your description though it sounds too buttery for my taste. I’m positive though that even if I wasn’t vegetarian I still wouldn’t eat it for the ethical implications, I stand by the animal activist and I think it’s cruel to force feed the ducks.
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    • Thanks for sharing your opinions Franca! We definitely agree that it does’t seem right to force feed the ducks. It’s always hard when something is a part of the culture, but it still doesn’t seem right.

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  5. I have to say, as much as I am morally conflicted, foie gras is tasty and there’s a place in Paris that does the best foie gras ever. I still remember the taste now! It seems a bit strange that it was paired with brie though, the norm is usually something like pain d’epices (a sort of gingerbread).
    Naomi recently posted…Monday we meet again #6My Profile

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    • Oh how interesting! We had no idea how it was supposed to be served, but paired with gingerbread sounds great!

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  6. I had foie gras this weekend at a French restaurant in Charlotte! What a coincidence haha. There are actually farmers who don’t force feed the geese to produce the foie gras. I watched a show about one farmer who lets his geese roam eating various plants that he has which then season the meat. So he’ll plant for example basil and it will season the meat! Then he waits until their natural death to make the foie gras. His geese lead such a good life that when other flocks of geese fly overhead, his geese call to them, and those geese land to eat. And they always come to stay. So he never even buys new geese because he gets them for free! So cool!

    http://neweconomy.net/publications/articles/barber/dan/a-perfect-expression-of-nature

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    • Haha that is so awesome! What a great way around the dilemma! I had heard of foie gras where the geese aren’t force fed, but nothing like this! Thanks for sharing the link :)

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  7. I’ve tried foie gras shortly after moving to France. It was the duck one. To tell the truth, it did taste nice, yet it wasn’t something I’d like to try for the 2nd time. Just not my taste probably.

    When you walk through the park, there’s usually a lot of ducks at the lakes and all the French are feeding them with bread crumbs and baguettes. Constantly. I just can’t help thinking that they do it on purpose, fattening the future to be foie gras :))
    Elena recently posted…Liebster Award NominationMy Profile

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    • Hahaha that is too funny!! We completely agree with you on the taste though. The taste is good, just not really for us I guess :)

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