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Feb 20, 2007 07:46 PM

sake/foie gras pairing

Any suggestions for an inexpensive sake to pair with a seared foie gras dish?

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  1. The combination doesn't sound good to me. The best wine match with a seared foie gras is something like a Sauternes or Coteaux du Layon. My favorite kind of sake -- Junmai Daiginjo -- is too dry to go with seared foie. At least, to my way of thinking . . .

    1. I have to agree, sake is going to be way to dry for the foie gras. Is there any reason you paired these together?

      1. Don't know about the "too dry" argument. Lots of French chefs and cookbooks recommend serving seared foie gras with dry reds and whites: five or six-year-old red Médoc, Haut Médoc and Graves, Pomerol, silky Cahors and Madiran, aged wines from the Sud-Ouest, Santenay, Ladoix, Beaune, classy Volnay "encore sur le fruit rouge", winey Champagne, Tokay Pinot Gris and Condrieu -- along with a bunch of sweet but not too sweet white and even red wines, of course -- are all suggestions pulled from one book. Martin Picard of Au Pied de Cochon once memorably paired a big hunk of seared foie topped by a big hunk of melting Munster cheese with a Mad River red ale. Besides, sake often is not bone dry. No, my worry re sake wouldn't be that its dryness but that it mightn't have the stuffing to stand up to the foie, though to some extent that could be mitigated by what else was on the plate.

        Sorry, no reccos. The sake selection in Quebec is laughable.

        3 Replies
        1. re: carswell

          I agree with the idea of (some, but not all) of the alternative dry French wines you mention above, however . . .

          Almost all of the wines you mentioned are known for their fruit -- young-ish Merlot and/or Cabernet-Merlot blends, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Viognier. (I'm having a hard time envisioning the Cahors and Madiran match -- I may have to try it and see!) In that sense, they would certainly pair up well, depending upon the preperation.

          For example, seared foie with a sauce of fresh and dried cherries is something I'd pair up with a young Burgundy from the Cote de Beaune; with a plum preparation, I'd shift over to a Pomerol or St.-Emilion; with a Port reduction, I'd serve a Ruby -- perhaps a VC-style -- Porto; but with a "straight, simple" seared foie, I'd opt for a sweet wine from Sauternes or the Loire.

          When I was staying in Gascogny with a producer who makes both foie gras and white wine, we had a huge slab of foie gras with Cotes de Gascogne blanc -- definitely not my first choice. . . . ;^)

          Returning to sake for a moment, I was thinking of a dessert sake. Even my Junmai Daiginjo is off-dry, but not -- IMHO -- sweet enough, nor with enough "ooomph!" to work with the seared foie.

          1. re: zin1953

            >>Almost all of the wines you mentioned are known for their fruit<<

            Agreed. And Meursault and Montrachet, other wines that can pair wonderfully with foie gras, are rich, almost honeyed, at times. But they're all fairly low on residual sugar, lower even (I'd guess) than some sakes. That's my point: there's nothing about foie gras that demands a sweet wine, though many North Americans seem to think one is de rigueur. Ooomph or, as I put it, stuffing is another consideration entirely, as is fruit.

            1. re: carswell

              I'm not sure if it's Americans or the French . . .

              In Bordeaux and Paris, I've been served Sauternes; in the Loire, a Vouvray Moelleux or Coteaux du Layon; in Burgundy, yes -- whites and reds, depending on the prep . . . only in Gascogny would I say "feh!"

        2. aren't there quite a few "floral" sakes that are off-dry? i've heard that the amount of cloudyness can indicate a sweeter (i.e. ricier) sake, but I'm not sure if that's a rule of thumb or just rumor. i
          this sounds like a fun pairing! love to hear how it turns out.

          when are you serving it? you might want to try calling Astor Wines in New York to get an opinion. they are friendly with recs, and if you can't find it locally, maybe order it.

          1. Think it is a bad idea too. Even for floral sakes, the flavors of sake is too subtle to be drank with foie gras. With such a strong tasting food, i bet most sake will taste the same.