Foie gras

Foie gras
Foie gras en cocotte.jpg
Foie gras with mustard seeds and green beans in duck jus
TypeWhole, mousse, parfait, or spread
Main ingredientsLiver of a duck or goose
A Mulard duck, the hybrid used most frequently for foie gras production

Foie gras (English: /ˌfwɑːˈɡrɑː/ (About this soundlisten), French: [fwa ɡʁɑ]; French for 'fat liver') is a specialty food product made of the liver of a duck or goose. According to French law,[1] foie gras is defined as the liver of a duck or goose fattened by gavage (force feeding). In Spain[2] and other countries, it is occasionally produced using natural feeding.[3] Ducks are force-fed twice a day for 12.5 days and geese three times a day for around 17 days. Ducks are typically slaughtered at 100 days and geese at 112 days.[4]

Foie gras is a popular and well-known delicacy in French cuisine. Its flavour is described as rich, buttery, and delicate, unlike that of an ordinary duck or goose liver. Foie gras is sold whole or is prepared into mousse, parfait, or pâté, 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."[5]

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.[6] Today, France is by far the largest producer and consumer of foie gras, though there are producers and markets worldwide, particularly in other European nations, the United States, and China.[7]

Gavage-based foie gras production is controversial, due mainly to the animal welfare concerns about force-feeding, intensive housing and husbandry, and enlarging the liver to 10 times its usual volume. A number of countries and jurisdictions have laws against force-feeding, as well as the production, import, or sale of foie gras. Even where it is legal, a number of retailers decline to stock it.

  1. ^ French rural code Code rural – Article L654-27-1: "On entend par foie gras, le foie d'un canard ou d'une oie spécialement engraissé par gavage." ("'Foie gras' is understood to mean the liver of a duck or a goose that has been especially fattened by gavage").
  2. ^ The Perennial Plate: Episode 121: A Time for Foie. [1]. June 2013.
  3. ^ Ted Talks: Dan Barber's foie gras parable. [2]. July 2008.
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference Viva was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ French rural code L654-27-1
  6. ^ "Ancient Egypt: Farmed and domesticated animals". Archived from the original on 16 December 2017. Retrieved 10 April 2009.
  7. ^ "A Global Taste Test of Foie Gras and Truffles".