Long part of the protected cultural and culinary heritage of France, foie gras symbolises French gastronomic excellence. The serving of foie gras has its own rituals, and it can be enjoyed as is, but there are certain accompaniments for which foie gras has a clear preference.
Bread, wine, and foie gras, a mouth-watering trilogy
You can buy foie gras with Foie Gras Gourmet, while the Comité Interprofessionnel des Palmipèdes à Foie Gras (CIFOG) offers some advice on making the most of this rich, healthy food. CIFOG says French farmers produced 15,000 tonnes of foie gras in 2020, mostly in and around the Périgord region in south-west France which boasts as the origin of some of the finest varieties of this delicacy.
In the 19th century, the development of canning processes led to the growth of cannery operators who began exporting foie gras around the world where it would soon be flying the flag for French gastronomy.
Breads: Freshly baked or lightly toasted country bread and toasted sandwich bread have rightly become great favourites. Traditional baguettes or wholemeal baguettes and Poilâne-style sourdough bread are also popular accompaniments for foie gras. Try a piece of foie gras on a slice of lightly toasted fruit bread—you will find the combination of sweet and savoury flavours utterly irresistible.
Wine and Champagne: There are few wine-food combinations as sublime as foie gras and a wide variety of matching crus. Foie gras and a sweet syrupy wine such as Sauternes is simply exquisite. All the wines of southwest France, such as Jurançon or Monbazillac, sweet Bergerac, a pungent Loupiac, or a Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, bring out the best in foie gras.
Côteau de Layon, Quarts de Chaume, Bonnezeaux, Vouvray, late harvest Alsace—the Tokay-Pinot Gris—and Gewurztraminer also pair superbly with foie gras.
Finest red wine crus and truffes also go well with foie gras
The finest red wine crus also go well with foie gras, bringing out its delicate flavouring. These include the best crus of Médoc—Margaux, Pauillac—crus of Libournais—Pomerol—and even tannic Madiran and Cahors.
There is one essential condition for matching wine with foie gras: the wine must have a certain complexity and a fine bouquet. Wines which are overly light, acidic, or simply too young, should be avoided since they prevent the full aromas of the foie gras from developing.
Truffes, this rarest of mushrooms, is also a traditional accompaniment for foie gras—particularly the goose variety—but truffles also pair perfectly with duck foie gras. When foie gras is “truffled”, a minimum truffle content of 3% is required.