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Where/What to buy Foie Gras?

I've got a friend who loves foie gras and I'd like to get them some for Xmas. However I am
clueless about it. Can someone recommend some decent foie gras in Toronto? Where to buy it? Roughly how much?

Thanks.

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  1. Are you looking for pate or raw? In any event, Cumbrae's would be your best bet. They sell it both ways. Their pate is wonderful.

    4 Replies
    1. re: millygirl

      This is VERY important.
      Raw foie gras to be seared needs a VERY hot pan/plate and is very likely to smoke. The only time I tried it, all the smoke detectors went off as most home extractor fans aren't strong enough to handle the 'flash sear' (note: if you try and heat it slowly it will be a disaster - basically a pool of grease).

      And the cheapest place I've found for raw is loblaws (not all stores carry it). They'll cut it to size/weight, whereas several others will only sell a whole lobe.

      1. re: estufarian

        do you happen to remember which Loblaws u went? i just called a couple of Loblaws and all they have are the prepared ones that comes in a tin.

        Would love to buy some raw ones and pan sear it for my bf's bday, and i dont' need a whole lobe.

        Thanks!

        1. re: luvcat37

          I saw it at the St Clair (east of bathurst) store - but I don't get there now since the ST Clair Streetcar tracks were installed - so call to confirm.
          I think I also saw it at Queens Quay (at jarvis) store too - but not certain of that.

        2. re: estufarian

          Forgive me if I'm wrong, but a VERY hot pan will usually melt the foie instantly and in fact may burst into flames.

          Medium/medium high is good enough, a quick 60-90 sec sear on each side will create a nice crust and shouldn't smoke too much. You can always raise the pan right up to the exhaust to suck up the fumes, especially if you use a cast iron pan which will retain the heat off the flames.

          The slickest technique in my experience was using a small cast iron pan over a piano-top over med/high heat, and constantly spooning the fat to bathe the foie as it is cooking.

          I've never used an extremely hot pan, nor have I seen anyone in a restaurant kitchen do this.

      2. White house meats (Bayview Ave, st. Lawrence mkt)..............

        1. Saw some at Highland Farms in Mississauga on Saturday--$65 for approx 400 grams.

          4 Replies
          1. re: ishmael

            Does anyone know what to look for as far as freshness & quality goes when buying fois gras?...compared to what I saw at Atelier $65 is a steal, but is one better than the other?

            1. re: Recyclor

              fois gras is like any other "meat" price is dependant on more then "freshness". Think factory farming vs organic, free range. Most quality high-end shops/ restaurants in Toronto get it from small producers in Quebec as opposed to the large factory farms of the US.

                1. re: OnDaGo

                  actually your wrong, sorry. the price of foie gras depends on the grade a, b, or c and the price of foie gras hasn't changed much at all over the years. $80-$100 for a whole lobe is a scam but it's probably what'll you'll pay regardless. the important thing to know is grade. A is pretty clean and by that i mean veins and that'll change as you go down the line to B and C. if your intention is to just sear it in a pan B is your best bet since A grades are usually used for torchons. C is generally used for pates, butter, sauces etc. etc. where the look of the liver is less important. at the end of the day you "really" need to know how to treat this very expensive item or your going to just end up ruining it and wasting hard earned money. if your friend has some skill it's a good idea and a great way to score some of it yourself. otherwise it would probably be better to treat him/her to a nice preparation of it at a good restaurant or buy some quality pate.

            2. Saw it at Alex Farms today in the freezer... $80 for a *huge* full liver...and there were smaller pieces. It was vacuum sealed, but, as mentioned, was frozen. If you are in the area, might be worth checking out. They also have other locations (Danforth and in the Manulife Centre).

              1. What you want to get is a small tin of prepared foie gras that your friend can spread onto some bagette. These are available at any fine foods' store. Anywhere from 20-50 bucks. I don't think you would want to get them a lobe of foie gras that they have to de-vein, season and cook. I have been given the tins as a gift and was greatly appreciative.

                4 Replies
                1. re: LvilleLocal

                  ...that's a good point LvL, once I was given 6 live lobsters as a gift, sounds great and I was very excited, until I realized my xmas evening was to be spent killing and processing lobster since I had not expected to be doing any cooking...the canned option, which would be great, would allow the reciever to enjoy the present at their liesure and not be roped into preparing an elaborate meal before the fois gras turns...

                  1. re: LvilleLocal

                    I wonder if anyone else has experience with buying canned foie. I have tried it twice--over say six years so it's not as if my recollections are accurate--the first time it was o.k.---obviously foie gras but qualitatively inferior to any I'd had before. The second time it just wasn't the same sort of thing at all. I mean...it was liver...but it bore more resemblance to liverwurst than to raw foie gras. I had a much better experience with a jar of foie gras last january---although there may be similar variation in jars as well. I'm just wondering if people consider these to be good buys....or even to really qualify.

                    1. re: mstacey42

                      Fresh has always been better, in my experience, than any prepared products, or even simply canned or jarred foie. I highly recommend making a torchon - the recipe from Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook involves a little work, but it's probably the best preparation of foie gras that I've ever had:

                      Recipe can be found here:

                      http://www.lawrence.com/blogs/foodway...

                      Also, if you can find a whole lobe of goose foie, I find it vastly superior to duck. However, I did use duck foie for the French Laundry recipe, and it was simply divine.

                      I have almost always purchased my fresh foie from White House Meats:

                      http://www.torontolife.com/guide/food...

                      1. re: mstacey42

                        Personally I'd never buy them, but I happen to have had a chance to try some, the tinned ones, such as this:
                        http://www.comtessedubarry.com/3-8/Bl...

                        To me they were not bad as a pate-type spread for toasts and crackers (maybe as a prelude to a nice dinner), but I would prefer the raw kind any day, if there is a choice. They are entirely different beasts, one being dense and kind of homogeneous, and one being melt-in-your-tongue delicate.

                        Also, don't be daunted about the cooking. If you don't mind simple (and often, simplicity is the best in the face of good ingredients), you could simply sear and serve with some kind of vinegar-based dressing, with some freshly ground pepper. That, paired with a nice, slightly sweet and dry white, would be just perfect for a meal.

                        And if I'm not clear enough, here is my order of preference on foie gras:

                        fresh/raw --> mi-cuit (jarred/vacuum-sealed) --> non mi-cuit (jarred/vacuum-sealed) --> canned

                        Enjoy!

                    2. looking to celebrate with a bit of foie and wondering how anyone has found the quality of the grade a from various vendors at slm to be?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        I just did Cumbrae's three ways for Valentines, and was very pleased with their product. I'm pretty sure it was B grade. They also sell it in two piece packages, which may suit your purpose better. My favourite preparation was definitely seared over crisp arugula, with homemade mango chutney and pecans.

                        1. re: dlw88

                          I would go to Whitehouse Meats at the St. Lawrence Market. They carry Grade A from Quebec and have it shipped in weekly. I recommend ordering in advance if you definitely need to have it for a particular meal.

                          I've purchased whole lobes on several occasions and have been extremely pleased with the quality.

                      2. They have a lot of it at the St. Lawrence Market.