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Pairing Foie Gras With (Fortified) Wine [moved from Home Cooking board]

I would not drink sherry with a dessert, and I like port only with Roquefort cheese.

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  1. port and foie gras - with brioche

    9 Replies
    1. re: Cynsa

      Thanks for the recommendation. Never tried it before; now I shall.

      1. re: Cynsa

        Cynsa, does the higher alcohol content in port clash at all with the foie gras? The reason I ask is that someone on CH recommended Pineau des Charentes with foie gras, and I found it to be a horrible combination because of the higher alcohol content in the PdC.

        Buttertart, sorry to highjack your thread.

        1. re: souschef

          I've found it to be a lovely pairing...

            1. re: buttertart

              My thoughts exactly, but I do intend to try Cynsa's recommendation.

                1. re: buttertart

                  Though Sauternes is not fortified. Not sure why the OP has that as a condition. I agree about the pairing; I love foie with any of the late harvest whites - Sauternes, Coteaux du Layon, Tokaji Aszu, etc...

                  1. re: sbp

                    Unfortunately (since this thread was split from another board) I did not get a chance to submit a clear first post, and I obviously did not choose a good title for this thread. My intent was not to ask for recommendations on pairing fortified wine with foie gras; instead, I was looking for comments on the pairing. This was because I thought the combination with Pineau de Charentes was horrible, but guster4lovers thought it was great. In addition, Cynsa recommended port, another fortified wine. So I was wondering what everyone else thought. I hope that clarifies it.

                2. re: souschef

                  Perhaps the most successful foie pairing I've ever had was a smoked foie gras dish paired with Pineau des Charentes at Manresa in Los Gatos, CA in 2007.

              1. "I would not drink sherry with a dessert, . . ."

                Have you had Pedro Ximénez? Sweet with dark brown spices and flavors like mollassas, fig, raisin. It would certainly work well with pumpkin or apple pie.

                As for the foie gras pairing, Eiswein has worked for me in the past.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Chinon00

                  No, I have not tried that sherry. I tend to think of sherry as something you sip before a meal, but if it is sweet I see how it would go with dessert.

                  1. re: souschef

                    Ah, some PX (Pedro Ximenez) could be in your future! I'd love to try this with foie gras, but I tend to fall back on the ne plus ultra of pairings: foie gras and Sauternes. By the way, if you ever get a chance, try the very concentrated PX (almost molasses-y, and not really for foie gras) called Venerable by the House of Domecq. It's thrilling. I've used it as a pairing with handmade chocolates, as syrup for pumpkin pancakes, body paint...

                2. not fortified, but the perfect pairing with foie gras is VT Pinot Gris from Zind-Humbrecht.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: jock

                    Do you prefer the VT, in sweetness, to the Zind-Hambrecht SGN (Selection de Grains Nobles) with foie gras?

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      for me definitely yes. i find SGN and Sauternes so rich when combined with the richness of foie gras it becomes overwhelming.

                      1. re: jock

                        The pairing needs acid because of the high content of the foie gras. That's why in most pairings, acid in some form, like aged Jerez vinegar or fruit or fruit juice, is added to the sauce accompanying the foie gras. With the addition of acid, the sweetness of the wine is reduced. High-acid Sauternes or other botrytised late-harvest wines are often fine without additional acid in the sauce.

                      2. re: maria lorraine

                        I prefer VT also. When I was in Alsace, I often had Gewurtz (non-VT or SGN) paired with foie gras, which I though worked well. Agree completely that wine needs good acidity.

                    2. Muscat des Baumes de Venise is a delicious pairing with Foie Gras. ;)

                      1. Not exactly fortified but if you must serve a sweet wine with foie gras, try a four or five puttonyos Tokaji Aszu. Alsatian late-harvest Gewurztraminier and Pinot Gris -- especially the barely sweet ones -- can also be excellent.

                        Among fortified wines, fine amontillado can make a very fine match, though you'd want to ramp back on the sweet sides and sauces.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: carswell

                          I take it you don't like sweet wines with foie gras. I once had a Brut Champagne with foie GRAS and did not like the combination, but a Demi-Sec went very well.

                          Re your point about sweet sides, I find that some chefs go overboard with the sweet sides. I have sometimes had sides that I considered too sweet for dessert.

                          1. re: souschef

                            Am not a big fan of sugary anything, though I am softening a little in my old age.

                            What I really object to, though, is starting a meal with dessert. The pairing of tooth-achingly sweet wines and foie gras accompanied by saccharine sauces and sides destroys the appetite and deadens the palate. And yet that's often how "appetizer" foie gras is served in North America. (And some Montreal restos add insult to injury by following it with a "trou normand" of commercial sherbet doused or not in alcohol. <shudder>)

                            There are exceptions, of course. Friends and I once began a spring equinox meal with a whole roasted foie gras accompanied by caramelized baby turnips and served with an only slightly sweet Condrieu doux, an exquisite pairing I can taste to this day.

                            But on the whole, give me a dry wine with good acidity (a fine old white Burgundy if you're treating) and a preparation that doesn't involve fruit or sugar.

                            1. re: carswell

                              Once at a very fancy French restaurant in New Jersey I was served foie gras with sickly sweet sides, followed by veal sweetbreads with too-sweet sides, followed by a too-sweet Grand Marnier soufflé. Dinner was a sugar overload. It was a corporate dinner at which I was a guest, so I had to grin and bear it.

                              I wonder why any chef would serve a sweet garnish with sweetbreads. It was as bad, but in a different way, as a restaurant in Montreal where I was served sweetbreads with chorizo, squid and a seafood foam. All you could taste was chorizo.

                              1. re: carswell

                                I'll risk the wrath of the gatekeepers by citing from Michael Broadbent's Vintage Wine:

                                When should you drink Sauternes? The classic combination is with foie gras or pâté at the beginning of a meal - though this rich combination tends to ruin the appetite for the rest of the menu. I personally prefer to serve it at the end with cheese. Most people, unfortunately, want to serve Sauternes with dessert. Unless all the ingredients are slightly less sugary, this simply doesn't work. What is the point of going to all the trouble of making this super-sweet wine -one glass per vine (at Yquem)- if you then turn it into a dry wine after one mouthful of a pastry chef's sweet confection? The important thing, when presented with a difficult combination, is to taste the wine first. Incidentally, I positively hate the expressions "pudding wine", and, even worse, the girlish "stickies" (ugh!).

                                1. re: RicRios

                                  Why worry about the gatekeepers! Broadbent does have a point. As much as I enjoy Sauternes with foie gras, it is a tough act to follow as it is hard to then serve a dry wine. The next course too must be chosen with care.

                                  I do know some East Indians who start dinner with something sweet. BUT, they then move on to blindingly hot rot-your-guts food (which I detest as I can't tolerate it) where you cannot miss the heat. I still refuse to believe you can taste anything when food is that hot.

                                  1. re: RicRios

                                    You won't get any argument from me. I agree with Broadbent.

                                    My favorite preparation for foie gras is the classic terrine. and I like an agredoux accompaniment rather than a totally sweet.

                            2. Seared Foie Gras much like cheese just has the stuff to stand up to and meld with sweet items making for an utterly decadance experience. Isn't that what it's about?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Chinon00

                                Agreed, provided that the sweet items are not too sweet.

                              2. Last evening with my dessert wine group prepared an app of foie des volailles cooked and pureed with chili and lemongrass. Paired with Macvin, the Jura version of pineau de charantes. All agreed paired beautifully. It was 17 % alcohol.

                                1. Though I am a Sauternes snob, the best foie gras pairing that I have ever had was a seared, apple-infused foie gras, with a Canadian Late Harvest Apple Cider at The Greenhouse, London, Mayfair. That was a big surprise, but the ultimate pairing. Much had to do with apples on both ends, but I will always remember that dish and the wine.

                                  Just dined there last week, and I spent 15 mins. with the sommelier, recounting that dish/pairing, though it was five years previous. That is how good it was.



                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    How do you infuse foie gras with apples?

                                    1. re: souschef


                                      I only wish that I knew! I do not know if they added apples to the foie gras, and then ran them through the chinois, or some other method, but the foie gras was perfectly seared, and so very smooth. The apples were in the foie gras, plus as a garnish. I eat foie gras, whenever available, and that was my #1 of all time. A local chef does get it a tad bit smoother, and he's served me #2 and #3 on my all-time foie gras list.


                                      PS - I am more into seared, than some other preps, but still order any often. At one lovely resort, I had foie gras six nights in a row, and each was great, plus a different prep. Let's just say that I did not have any medical lab work done for months! [Grin]

                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                        Wow. Double Wow. I remember a foie gras blow-out week as well, long ago.

                                        When you say the foie gras was seared (also my favorite way), and that the apples were *in* the foie gras, how did that appear?

                                        I've also had foie gras with apple preps (homemade apple sauce, apple chutney, among other things), and wondered about the best apple accompaniments. I love fruit with foie gras, provided the prep is not overly sweet and iinches towards a gastrique in tartness.

                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          eat up on the foie gras, folks -- researchers have found duck and goose fat to be very high in oleic acid, which actually helps REDUCE your serum cholesterol levels. (Still lots of calories, though.)

                                          Seems that the old folks in the southwest of France who swear that they owe their long life to duck fat aren't wrong after all.

                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                            I'm more into seared as well, though I have had a very few nice ones done "Au torchon", the only problem being that most restaurants do not serve it with HOT toast, which to me is a must.

                                            I don't see having it several nights in a row as a problem, as the servings are so small. I'm glad that I have come across a butcher locally where you can buy just a slice instead of a whole lobe.

                                            I wonder if it marinating in or injecting with cider is what got the apples into thefoie gras.

                                            Have you ever tasted a foie gras cromesqui? You are presented with a small innocent-looking cube of breaded "stuff", and admonished to pop it whole into your mouth. When you chomp down on it you mouth is flooded with warm, liquid foie gras.

                                            1. re: souschef

                                              Yes, those cromesquis are something wonderful, when done properly, and something awful when they are coarsely executed. Like canelés.

                                              If that's the next destination on the starship, count me in for the ride!

                                              1. re: pilinut

                                                I do have a recipe for cromesquis !

                                              2. re: souschef

                                                Cold foie, hot buttered brioche toast. A en mourir.

                                          2. re: Bill Hunt

                                            While I prefer wines other than sweet whites with my foie gras, I will agree that foie gras with apples (especially somewhat tart apples) is a marriage blessed by the gods.

                                            Please, please, describe the foie gras and apple dish in greater detail: I am thoroughly intrigued--and hungry!

                                          3. I've rarely had sweet white wine that actually improved my foie gras experience--together they feel too rich and unctuous by half (though I do like sweet whites with the right cheese). I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule, and I realize that the haphazard pairing of foie gras with any decent Sauternes/Montbazillac/sweet white has probably fed my prejudice, but I think I've tried it ofen enough to decide that I'd simply prefer something else.

                                            My favorite hot foie gras prep of all time is the whole roast foie gras in a port and caper sauce at the Pont de l'Ouysse in Lacave. The balance of fruity sweetness and acidity from the port, and the slight tang from the capers were the PERFECT match for the roasted foie gras. One taste and you knew that they've been doing this sauce just right for many a year. I was relieved that the wine that the sommelier chose to pair it with was a white Bordeaux that provided our palates with the refreshment they needed. (I wish I could remember the name--I thought at the time I had committed it to memory--but I must have had a tad more to drink than I realized. Or maybe it was 300 grams of foie gras that clogged my happy little brain. )

                                            2 Replies
                                              1. re: pilinut

                                                OMG ! You ate 300grams of foie gras ?

                                              2. I'm late to this thread, but hope this contrbution helps.

                                                For seared foie gras my fave is a late harvest pinot gris from Alsace (in common with some other posters). I find that the coolness of the wine provides an additional counterpoint to the warmth of the foie (along with the many other comments with which I mostly agree).

                                                With a 'cool/room temperature' serving, in pretty much all of the forms, I prefer a 'slightly fortified' wine - so again agree with many posters, although I'm not sure the thread so far has separated the different styles of serving foie gras. Certainly a Tokay works for me, but the best match (for me) is indeed a sherry - particularly a medium-sweet oloroso (100% PX is too simple). The alcohol (which fiishes slightly 'hot' is the counterpoint to the coolness of the foie gras).

                                                I matched the Sandeman Imperial Corregidor (now sadly discontinued) with foie gras at a very upscale dinner about a year ago. Although the 'nominal wines' (mostly Burgundies with 50+ years of age) were the attraction (and indeed showed well) the wine that EVERYONE talked about afterwards was the sherry and how 'perfect' the wine/food match had been.