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A Very French Christmas: Foie Gras

Christmas is just around the corner and no French Christmas feast is complete without foie gras! One of the things I enjoy the most about living in Paris is how easily I can access this delicious treat. Walk into any supermarket and you can buy foie gras straight off the shelf. Although it is banned in California and other European countries, in France foie gras is very much part of their culture. In fact, these fattened goose or duck livers are protected under French law as part of their cultural and gastronomic heritage. It is very much a French staple for Christmas and New Year’s eve dinners.

Being a stranger in a strange land, it was interesting to learn how the French enjoy this delicacy. Here are some tips from the Cercle des Amoureux du Foie Gras  (the Foie Gras Lovers Circle, yes there is such a thing!)

Breaking bread

  • Your choice of bread will affect your overall foie gras tasting experience, so choose wisely. The French prefer a baguette or a brioche, cut into thin slices and always, always nicely toasted.

Sweet and salty

  • Make sure to serve your foie gras with a side of chutney (onions or figs) and a dash of sea salt for that sweet/salty taste.

Red or white?

  • Since foie gras is very rich on the palate, a light red wine is recommended to complement the taste and texture. Champagne is also widely preferred but stay away from anything bitter, like beer, as this will overpower the taste.

Leave the fat on

  • Personally, I always take out the yellow part on the edge of the foie gras, which is basically fat. However, the connoisseurs disagree! They say leave the fat on and worry about your hips another time.

Slice it, don’t spread it!

  • Foie gras is all about indulgence, so slice a generous portion, place on toasted bread, put some onion chutney on top, sprinkle a little bit of sea salt and enjoy!

 

 

Where to buy the best foie gras in Paris? Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie on rue Montmartre in the first arrondissement is the best place to buy different kinds, packed in vacuum sealed plastic or in cans – perfect for pasalubong!