Foie Gras: A Thousand Year History
Relished by the Romans as far back as the 1st century BC, this delicacy later became a rare a staple of choice. It started to reappear in the 15th century all over Europe, before regaining its favor in the 18th century at the court of Louis XVI, where it was often served at various receptions and balls in the form of pâté en croûte.
Produced primarily in soutwestern France, specifically in Gers which boasts of approximately 1,800 independent farm producers, duck foie gras has a stronger taste than the milder tasting goose foie gras. Foie gras delights aficionados year-round, since it can be enjoyed fresh, semi-cooked or preserved.
Traditionally served fresh on toast during the Christmas period, it is often accompanied with a sweet white winesuch as Pacherenc, soft Gaillac, Jurançon or Monbazillac, as preferred in the Southwest, or, more classically, with a Sauternes. When cooked, such as in the recipe below, it might be preferably served with a red wine that can be chosen from a vast range of possibilities, a great vintage of Côtes de Beaune or a Châteauneuf-du-Pape for instance, or a more tannic Madiran wine.
Pan-seared duck foie gras scallop with caramelized figs and gilded millas
(Paul Fontvieille, restaurant La Clairière in St-Girons en Ariège)
Ingredients (serves 4 people):
- 2 duck livers (1 pound each)
- 6 ripe figs, 9 ounces millas*
- 5 ounces sugar
- 10 centiliters of balsamic vinegar
- 2 ounces butter
- salt and pepper
In a non-stick frying pan, use butter to brown each side of 12 cubes of millas. Remove the millas from the pan. Place halved figs in the same pan and cook. Once half-done, add sugar and fry until they are reddish brown and caramelized. Add vinegar, but maintain cooking temperature. Heat up another non-stick frying pan. Place 12 1-inch-thick pieces of liver in the pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side.
In each plate, intersperse 3 cubes of millas with 3 figs. Place one slice of liver on each cube of millas. Cover with sauce.
* Millas is a mixture of lard and cornstarch
Foie Gras Markets
To enjoy fresh or prepared foie gras, the foie gras markets in Gers perpetuate the tradition. Among the most famous locations are the markets in Mirande (from November to March), Samatan (from November to April) or Gimont (from November to March).
GersGersoise Association for the Promotion of Foie Gras For all information on foie gras including producers, quality control, vintages, etc. Route de Mirande - BP 161 32003 Auch Cedex Telephone: +33 (0)126.96.36.199.40 Website: www.foie-gras-gers.com
Capons Fair featuring the products of Saint-Julia.Saint-Julia has been recognized for centuries for a gastronomic tradition that still lives on today, the gras-capou or fatty capon. Since time immemorial this perched village in Lauragais has produced capons of high quality. Presentation and sale of all the traditional regional products including capons, turkey and foie gras takes place on December 20, from 9:00 -5:00.