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Dec 13, 2008 04:51 PM

What is "Foie Gras"?

I have seen this on some menus around here. I know Mille Fleurs has it on theirs. What is this mysterious "foie gras"? Is it an imitation? Can someone please tell me!?

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  1. It is the most delicious, smooth, oily, flavorful food product that will ever pass between your lips. Way too expensive to be more that an appetizer, but try it once and if you don't like it, e-mail me and I will cheerfully refund your purchase price and I have no clue who you are or where you ate it. I'm a believer in foie gras.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Veggo

      I know what foie gras is but why are chefs putting "foie gras" on their menu like it's some name brand item like Gap or Bloomingdales? Is it some lame marketing ploy or is it the real deal? Or have they bowed to animal activists and came to terms with some cheap imitation of the heavenly vice know as foie.

      1. re: hairycover

        Two young, rich and retired, hedge fund managers are producing prodigious quanties of foie gras in upstate NY along the Hudson River. My guess is you are witnessing the marketing of their product, except in Chicago, where it was banned.
        Chitown: has that bad been "lifted"?

        1. re: Veggo

          Yes - the ban has been lifted in Chicago. The rational lashback to the PETA idiocy is going strong in NY, CA and Europe.

        2. re: hairycover

          In San Diego it's the real deal, particularly in the mid to upper price ranges. It's not that unusual on menus here. It will, by some date in the not to distant future, be outlawed in the entire State of CA. The State legislature can't pass a viable budget but they can pass a foie ban...go figure.

          1. re: DiningDiva

            I'm trying to imagine CA without foie... what's next? Botox? Silicone? And when Colorado cuts off your water supply, maybe you can distill Mescal...:)

          2. re: hairycover

            They use it because it is a very common food ingredient in often french (but not only) inspired cuisine for the last several hundered years. I am a little surprised because it sounds from your questions that you think that it is a very recent trend to use it but it is used in upscale restuarants (including San Diego) for many many years.

            1. re: hairycover

              I don't understand your response. Foie gras is fattened liver. It would be odd and even pretentious to see just 'foie' on an American menu because that's just regular liver.

              1. re: PorkButt

                I'm wondering why restauranteurs and chefs are putting quotations on foie gras? I called Mille Fleurs and the poor hostess barely knew what Foie Gras was. Anywhere else in the free world it would be just be foie gras. What year is CA banning Foie?

                1. re: hairycover

                  It's either 2010 or 2012, I can't remember. It may be on the CRA site

                  1. re: hairycover

                    Ah, I read those quotation marks in your post as meaning that you didn't understand what foie gras is rather than actual quotation marks appearing in the menu.

                    In that case I would have interpreted it as being ersatz foie gras - perhaps ordinary liver combined with a fat like butter to make a mousse or pate.

                2. re: hairycover

                  The heavenly vice known as "fat"? Uh, no thanks.

                1. If you want direct answers, it's often best to ask Wikipedia or Google. True foi gras is always the fatty liver of a goose or a duck. Goose is often preferred to and more expensive than duck liver. Here's the Wikipedia URL:

                  When living overseas, I was once presented with a live goose around Thanksgiving, to fatten myself for foi gras. You have to tie their legs so they don't get much exercise, then force feed them on grains and cereals five or six times a day. My housekeeper did it for me, as well as changing the goose's "diapers."

                  By December 23rd, the goose looked fat and plump and prize winning! When Fatma killed it, we got enough feathers and down for three feather beds and six sets of pillows, but the plucked goose looked like a squab with a small pigeon's liver! How many ways can I spell "disappointing"? Well, lemme think... The easiest way is "home grown foi gras"!

                  In my opinion, fresh foi gras is good. Canned foi gras sucks. But it is expensive.

                  EDIT: Any time ANYTHING has quotation marks around it in a market or a restaurant, ask questions! It's often an indication of an imitation.

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