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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Decandent Foie Gras

There’s no other word for this over-the-top, cholesterol-laden, piece-of- paradise-in-a-bite other than decadent.  Often times credited to the French, this delicacy interestingly was known to the Egyptians millenniums ago---they were the first to learn that certain fowl could be fattened through forced over-feeding to create a gastronomic indulgence.

France currently produces almost 80% of the world’s foie gras (pronounced fwa – graw).  Ducks and geese are force fed by the process called “gavage” (a French word which means to feed with an inserted tube).  Like many birds, ducks and geese have expansive throats which allow them to store large amounts of food in their esophagus (In the wild, this feature allows birds to swallow large foods such as whole fish.)

Gavage feeding for foie gras production has become controversial.  Some countries, including the US, have laws against doing so as it is thought to be inhumane.  I have witnessed the procedure in France and did not observe any type of angst by geese during the 2-3 second procedure.  If you are coming on our Bordeaux tour this fall you can witness the procedure for yourself as we will be visiting a farm where foie gras is produced.  This, however, isn’t just any farm----it’s been visited by some of France’s most famous Michelin star chefs.

Don’t like liver? (I don’t).  Don’t worry…foie gras bares absolutely no resemblance to ordinary liver.  Don’t eat foie gras?  No problem---on the tour we’ll make sure there is always another fabulous alternative for you.

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