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Jun 23, 2011 05:22 PM

I want to cook foie gras. Where to get it, though...

I want something new to cook, a new challenge... I've thought about cooking foie gras for a long time but have always sort of avoided it because it's so expensive. That said, it doesn't seem that difficult to cook, so I'm going to give it a shot. Plus my pescetarian girlfriend and I just broke up, so bring on the ethically questionable delicacies!

Here's the problem, though: I don't know where to get it. My first thought was Cooper's, which I've never been to, but apparently they're now called Lee's and their website mentions nothing of foie gras, let alone venison, quail or any of the things I thought the place carried in the first place. I've never seen it at Whole Foods, and besides, I imagine they'd be ethically opposed. Nor have I seen it at Central Market, unless it's in a vacuum sealed pack or something along those lines over by the deli.

So yeah, where does one procure this wonderful stuff?

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  1. call and/or email dai due and see if you can do a special order for pick up at the farmer's market?
    i get their weekly newsletter and they offer a great variety of products, so have a lot of relationships with local farmers, etc.

    on my home computer, i have a bookmark for a high quality mail order source but i imagine the shipping costs would be obscene.

    1. Yeah that's an option. I first heard about them a while back when I posted on here about where to get caul fat, but instead of asking them, I just got enamored with their weekly menu and ordered some of their pate instead, haha. I'll shoot them an email.

      I guess there really aren't any stores that carry it, though?

      4 Replies
      1. re: popvulture

        the weekly menus are drool-inducing.
        i really admire how they use local, seasonal items to amp up things like worcestershire.
        i just wish they participated in the cedar park farmer's market.
        the other market is too far south for me.

        1. re: dinaofdoom

          Ah yeah, I gotcha. I live really close by so it's easier for me. BUT, they'll hold your order until noon on Saturdays. If I can give you any sort of recommendations, the terrines, especially the poultry ones, are always amazing. Plus, the Fireman's 4 mustard is a total must.

          If you live way up north, it's really worth the trip. Just stockpile it! Buy some pate to eat during the week, then stock your fridge with freezable things like wild boar chorizo :)

          1. re: popvulture

            okay, i'm at home so here is the link for hudson valley foie gras.
            i think i got the rec from both a chowhound mail order thread, and serious eats.

            dai due's specials this week (sambal, peach chutney) sound delish!

            1. re: dinaofdoom

              Thanks for the link! I've been looking for a place like this for a while.

      2. I've seen it a Central Market Lamar location - in the meat department, far left end of counter (when you're facing it) next to the chicken.

        Central Market
        4477 S Lamar Blvd Ste 100, Austin, TX 78745

        11 Replies
        1. re: m3lissa

          Sweet, I'll ask about it next time I'm there! I've got buds who are chefs I could ask, and Dai Due's certainly an option, but I feel like usually when you ask those dudes for an individual order from their distributors, it's kind of a hassle.

          Yet another reason why I think CM is so much better than Whole Foods.

          1. re: popvulture

            Though I'm thinking someone's probably gonna chime in right now and tell me WF actually carries it.

            1. re: popvulture

              I just moved to the area a few weeks ago and used to think whole foods was amazing. I made it out to central market on lamar a couple of days ago and don't imagine Ill ever be setting foot in whole foods again. There's no comparison, central market is tons better.

              As to your original question, can't help you here in austin, but I can tell you I have ordered foie from this site and it was great You can buy a fresh lobe or get flash frozen portioned pieces.

              1. re: twyst

                I totally agree with you about Whole Foods. I think they're great, but they're SOOO expensive and I don't like the fact that I can't find things there that are not hippy dippy enough. I'm all about eating healthily, but sometimes I want quinoa AND doritos.

                The one thing I will give them, however, is that their seafood department is vastly superior to CM, in my opinion. The only time they've ever let me down was when I ordered an octopus and they never got back to me. Meanwhile, CM had some. Go figure.

                Anyway, though, I'm going to go see if I can get some foie at CM. Wish me luck.

                1. re: twyst

                  on Whole Foods vs. Central Market I think this totally depends on what you're shopping for--Duck & Mussels, definitely the best place in the Austin area to get it for quality and value is Central Market--for every kind of red meat, Whole Foods has the best quality, and in some cases, better prices--that's the problem with Central Market, much of their stuff is HEB quality with Whole Foods prices--as far as Seafood goes, avoid BOTH Central Market and Whole Foods, Quality Seafood is way better quality wise (and value)...

                  Central Market
                  4477 S Lamar Blvd Ste 100, Austin, TX 78745

                  1. re: taliesin15

                    Actually, about red meat - have you ever bought Costco steaks? They have some stuff at prices that are nearly unbelievable. We usually buy things like a whole prime rib roast for around $6-8/lb (I might be a little off on the price) and slice it into ribeye steaks ourselves. The trimmings get used for hamburger, stew, stroganoff, or chili meat. And you can dry-age the roast yourself if you've got the space and the desire.

                    1. re: addlepated

                      a lot of people in the general chowhounding threads have raved about the quality to price ratio with costco steaks.

                      1. re: addlepated

                        yeah, and sometimes Costco has good deals on other red meat such as lamb--however, Whole Foods definitely has the best quality--though I sure wish The Meat Shop was still around

                        1. re: addlepated

                          I have certainly bought CostCo beef. Lots of it. I got hooked on it in in California. My last chunk was one of those 12 pound whole, USDA Prime top sirloins for $3/lb. And the pork is superior to anything you'll find at HEB. Granted, you may be able to find pork cheaper on sale (not by much) but you won't beat the taste of CostCo's. I pick up a 2-pack of butts usually.


                        2. re: taliesin15

                          I love quality seafood, and their prices are astronomically better than WF, but I've gotta say... their variety's a little stagnant. They don't really get that much interesting stuff in there, mainly the good ol' standards.

                    2. re: m3lissa

                      I too have seen it at CM north, but never south. It was on display in the middle of the isle during Thanksgiving of 2000 for $50/lb, so I bought a $70 chunk. Haven't seen it since, but maybe I'm not looking hard enough. i usually shop south and blow right past the poultry as I've already spent too much on the red meat. :-)

                    3. I recommend giving some love to Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras, California's only producer, which will be banned [along with all sales!] in 2012:

                      Their FG is excellent. Other US sources for fresh FG: New York's Hudson Valley, already mentioned, and D'Artagnan, an excellent source for quality meat [sells both Sonoma and HV]:

                      Re: Whole Foods: They were sued for breach of contract a few years ago by Sonoma's processor, Grimaud Foods, when they capitulated to activists and pulled FG from their shelves.

                      For a good account of how FG is really produced, challenging many of the opponents' arguments:

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: pdxdh

                        there's also some good stuff on foie gras in Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations show--the fact that these birds breath through nostrils on their beaks tends to undermine the opposition's arguments

                        1. re: pdxdh

                          Wait, you mean all sales in California? I really, really hope you dont mean all sales in the US, period. I think I would've heard something about that.

                          1. re: popvulture

                            The California foie gras law (California State Senate Bill 1520 of the 2003-2004 legislative session) (SB 1520) is a California State statute enacted in 2004 that prohibits the production and sale of foie gras in California. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2012

                        2. I say just order it from Sonoma or Hudson Valley or d'Artagnan, I'm sure CM will order it for you if they don't have any in stock. Have you ever cleaned one? You have to pick out the veins and it's challenging. Not from the perspective that it's an eww moment, but challenging from the perspective that it's hard to get all the veins out without destroying the lobe and ending up with just a bunch of small pieces of foie.

                          Heat a cast iron or other heavy pan over high heat. No oil or fat in the pan of any kind. You won't need it. Sear the pieces (cut them fairly thick, but not more than an inch) Turn once browned & sear other side then remove. Foie should be rare. If you cook it too long it just dissolves into a puddle of fat. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but you do want to eat it, yes? Be careful you don't cross the line into burning because it's precariously close when you do this and you'll want to save the leftover fat for future yummyness.

                          You can make a sauce to go with it from the pan juices. If you have a fruit reduction it goes really well with the rich foie. You should prep that ahead as once foie comes out of the pan you'll want to have your plates all set up ready to go & eat it immediately. Serve with a lovely sauternes ;->

                          Have fun and report back! With pictures!!

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: malarkey

                            Oh, unplug all your fire alarms when you do this ;-> Cuz it will smoke up the joint.

                            1. re: malarkey

                              Yep, that's pretty much my plan with the cast iron pan and fruit (probably raspberry, maybe with a teeny hint of wasabi) reduction. I didn't know about the veins though, so thanks for the tip! I'll have to look for it on youtube or something... gotta be some instructional vids out there.

                              1. re: popvulture

                                You don't have to worry about the veins when searing. You only worry about them when making a terrine or a torchon as the veins spoil the look.

                                I have served it with a mango-based side as well as with papaya. I could not see myself using wasabi with it. You don't want to be distracted by the heat (well, me anyway).

                                Warning: do not ever drink water right after eating a piece of foie gras; it leaves a horrible taste in the mouth. Sauternes is great, but for a cheaper alternative you could serve it with a Montbazillac.

                                1. re: souschef

                                  is it like the orange juice after teeth-brusing effect?

                                  1. re: souschef

                                    Sorry to disagree, souschef-- Foie gras should be deveined regardless. I have had distinctly unpleasant experiences having the delicate rich goodness of seared foie gras marred by encountering a big grisly vein. Very unpleasant.

                                    1. re: pdxdh

                                      I guess I have been very lucky in not encountering any big veins. But then it's something I never used to make very often as a whole lobe is very expensive, and I don't like to go through so much of the stuff in a short while. Fortunately I recently discovered a butcher where I can buy it in slices, for about $5 each.