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simple local vegetables

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Thursday, 13 October 2011

Getting Stuffed......

  Yes - it's the protesting season again, and the season when letter boxes all over France are full of special Seasonal offers.
These things and myself have one thing in common....."Foie Gras" (a fatty liver), mine probably due to "over indulgence" over years, and without doubt I shall be partaking again this year, just a little bit less - for health reasons!  Yes, the act and the pictures of "gavage" (the force feeding of ducks and geese) are not a pretty sight, unfortunately just as other photos of our human nourishment are not, and most certainly Abattoirs or slaughterhouses are not charming places, but I can't get involved in the debate surrounding these things, this is a blog about food and drink, and the arguments - both for and against - have very valid points.
The Southwest of France (Périgord) is probably the center of the French industry, sold all over the world,    but it is produced generally in many areas. Alsace, particularly the Strasbourg area is well known, amongst all its thousands of charcuterie and pâtés products, the Foie Gras is present, less than it used to be, but it is still present.
Basically Foie Gras is NOT good for the human being, it is too fatty, it is too high in Cholesterol and other things, but in the Season of Festivities, there are so many other things not good for us that one more or less is minimal, and in any case, just from its price, Foie Gras limits itself to small quantities. It comes in all forms, "fresh" - conserved, smoked, bottled, you name it - you can find it.
The most sought after, by Gourmets and Gourmands, is the fresh variety, simply because it allows itself to be prepared in so many different ways. This explains the price also.
Fresh Foie Gras is sold in what are called "lobes", sometimes in parts of lobes, and the classic and traditional way of preparing is uncomplicated, in words, but complicated in deed...."De-veining" the item (taking out very carefully all the small veins that are to be found) is long and difficult to inexperienced fingers. Care has to be taken that the look of the whole article is preserved, and not damaged, and the fact that one is dealing with a small fortune tends to give cramps.....!
The further preparation is relatively simple, thickish slices being passed quickly in hot butter, until slightly browned and then served on hot toasted bread.  Garnishes are, for myself, unrequired, maybe something for colour, but very little. The simplicity of the product should be allowed to shine through.
I know there are many places which serve elaborate concoctions, but if you look into it, this is generally to hide the fact that the expensive item - the Foie Gras - is in a very limited quantity, and often quality!
The other means of preparation available, like the "blocks" - the tins - the glasses, the pâtés, the terrines containing a certain amount of Foie Gras, can be used in various ways. They may be served as for the real item, they can be eaten cold, some people even make a sandwich from them, and - of course, the "exclusive" canapés for those "finger buffets"  Generally "over garnished" it is a shame to see the fine product being hidden away by mundane things like fruit and lettuce, but everyone to their taste.
If you are going to partake over the coming Festive Season, then think that it's not finished just with the expensive Foie need something else, like SWEET wine! Normally Bordeaux sweet white wine, it doesn't need to be a "Tokay" ( at a few thousand $$$$ a bottle for the genuine article) - a simple Sauternes will do the job admirably,   and even then, a "Château Yquem" isn't necessary either!

On the other hand, you can always stay with something you know, just

try a Rosé or "demi-Sec" variety... ..

......So long as it's "Demi-Sec"....

.............which has nothing to do with dry....!


Bonne Appétit!....... Bonnes Fêtes....                 Octobre 2011

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