French Foie Gras: a must for Christmas and New Year celebrations!

14-12-2016 Le foie gras français, emblème de la gastronomie française
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In France it is a tradition to kickstart New Year menus with foie gras; either served on its own on bread, on toast with fruit marmalade such as onion, fig or mango, or even on its own with a sprinkle of fleur de sel. This simple gesture shows year on year just how attached the French are for this authentic, quality dish.

foie gras

Foie Gras – the figures

Foie gras is a staple dish for Christmas and New Year celebrations for 76% of the French (Source: CIFOG survey/CSA), followed by smoked salmon (60%), Yule log (52%), oysters (38%), turkey (18%) and lobster (12%). Foie gras is a culinary delicacy made from liver fat resulting from the force-feeding and fattening of ducks and geese. France is by far the world leader of the production and is responsible for two-thirds of global production (19,200 tonnes). While France remains fiercely attached to this culinary speciality, other nations are following suit, with 4,970 tonnes of foie gras now shipped abroad (2015 data, Source CIFOG).

Back in June last year, 82% of the French already intended to purchase foie gras for either Christmas or New Year (Source CIFOG survey/CSA). The same survey revealed that 92% of respondents state that foie gras is a food “for pleasure” while 91% refer to it as a a food full of flavour”. With its provenance from an excellent region of production, “foie gras is part of French culinary heritage”, according to 95% of French people.  The French trust foie gras, both in terms of tasting quality (90%) and food safety (86%).

What makes Foie Gras an exceptional product?

How do you spot good quality ?  It should be smooth, supple and firm to the touch. It must also be evenly coloured. The shade however may vary, depending on the type of corn used to force-feed the birds. Goose liver in general is slightly pinker than duck liver. Duck foie gras is the most popular and stands apart for its “rustic” qualities. Goose foie gras is delicate and sweet on the palate.

Want to make a recipe of it ? Discover Bresse chicken recipe with foie gras and truffle

Le foie gras français, emblème de la gastronomie française
Le foie gras français, emblème de la gastronomie française

How to serve Foie Gras

There’s a very specific way to enjoy foie gras. The vast majority of consumers (82%) enjoy it as a starter, by far ahead of served as an appetiser (15%). Less is more when tasting this exceptional dish, such as simply served on bread or toast. According to the survey, 99% of French consumers enioy it this way, invariably served with onion, fig or mango marmalade (79%). For the best possible results, allow the foie gras to rest at room temperature for 30-50 minutes before serving, as it may lose its aromas and softness if too cold. Finally, and most importantly, never add butter to foie gras, simply serve on its own on toast. It has more flavour this way.

 A few food and wine pairing ideas for foie gras:

Serve with a good Cru quality white wine from Alsace, Vouvray or Sauternes, depending on your preference.

For a selection of more elaborate recipes, visit the official CIFOG website: