Regardless of your moral position on foie gras, it is undeniably one of the most delicious products out there. Fatty and flavourful, the liver of the fattened goose or duck can be prepared in many ways. Chefs disagree on which bird provides the tastier liver: some believe that the goose has a larger liver but less flavourful taste while others say that the smaller duck liver is more gamey but can retain a subtle bitterness. Approximately 95 per cent of foie gras produced worldwide are from ducks (canard) and the prized, precious rest from geese (oie).
That’s not the only way of categorising foie gras: in Europe, foie gras can be labelled entier, bloc, mousse, parfait or terrine, all with their different legally-defined ingredients. As France (especially the southwest region of Perigord) produces over 20,000 tonnes of foie gras annually - about 3/4 of the world’s total production - we take a look at the French terms for foie gras that every gourmand needs to know.
Foie gras entier
A premium form that refers to a whole or two lobes of liver that is cooked (cuit), semi-cooked (mi-cuit), or fresh (frais). They are graded A, B and C with the first being most premium.
Pâté de foie gras
Foie gras that is usually pureed and mixed with minced meat (such as pork or veal) into a thick spread. It must comprise 50% or more foie gras.
Bloc de foie gras
A cooked and moulded block comprising of 98% or more foie gras; or if termed ìavec morceauxî (with pieces), it contains at least 50% foie gras pieces for goose, and 30% for duck. The smooth texture allows it to be spread easily on toasted brioche or breads.
Terrine de foie gras
Foie gras that is cooked in a mold and usually flavoured with herbs and cognac. Best served chilled.
Mousse de foie gras
Puréed and whipped into an airy mousse-like consistency, this must contain at least 50% foie gras.
Parfait de foie gras
Similar to the mousse, legal requirements stipulates that a parfait de foie gras should be made up of no less than 75% foie gras.
Truffled Foie Gras
Truffles have been a traditional accompaniment for foie gras as its unique earthy flavour perfectly complements the delicate taste of foie gras. When foie gras is sold as ‘truffled’, it is legally required to contain at least 3%, unless otherwise stipulated.
Foie Gras butter
A delicious mixture of equal amounts of foie gras and butter — cheap and chic, we say!
While CitySuper, Oliver’s and other gourmet supermarkets will stock the Rougié brand of foie gras by the tin as well as some terrines and pâtés, enthusiasts should also try out Monsieur Chatté’s homemade foie gras terrine based on a family recipe. Online French specialty stores such as Comme a la Maison also stock foie gras specialities such as foie gras flavoured duck rillettes and a foie gras stuffed Magret duck breast.
Monsieur Chatté: 121 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan. www.monsieurchatte.com
Comme a la Maison: www.commealamaison.com.hk