Thursday, August 2, 2012

Foie Gras in Madagascar

Pictures: Impressions from Madagascar

Foie gras - French for fat liver - is a popular delicacy in French cuisine, made of the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened. French law states that "foie gras belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France."

Foie gras is not cheap and people – including myself - tend to eat foie gras only for special occasions. This is different, however, when I am in Madagascar. There, food is in general cheap by international standards and there is plenty of excellent foie gras made in Madagascar. Many restaurants in Antananarivo have on a regular basis different kinds of foie gras dishes on their menu.

I recently spent about 2 months in Madagascar, mostly in the capital Antananarivo. The food we had over these 2 months was mostly French food and I ate a lot of foie gras. This posting is an account of my journey through the world of foie gras in Madagascar, centered around an evening at the restaurant Villa Vanille, where my wife Annette and I both had one course – direct – and this was a foie gras course, an evening at the Kudeta in Antananarivo and the terrine de foie gras we had at Princesse Bora on Ile Sainte Marie.

Wining and Dining in Antananarivo

I have compiled a comprehensive list of the restaurants in Antananarivo, the Capital of Madagascar and have issued my work in three postings:

Schiller’s 12 Favorite Restaurants of Antananarivo, the Capital of Madagascar

A Comprehensive Guide - in Alphabetical Order - to the Restaurants of Antananarivo, the Capital of Madagascar

A Comprehensive Guide – Ordered by the Number of Stars - to the Restaurants of Antananarivo, the Capital of Madagascar

See also:

The Wines of Madagascar

Foie Gras at Villa Vanille

Villa Vanille has several terrines de foie gras and foie gras poele on its menu.

Pictures: There is always Malagasy Music at Villa Vanille

My wife Annette had: La Terrine de Fois Gras a la Vanille (with sweet-sour chutney onions, raisons, sirope de grenadine and with gelee de vins doux).

Picture: La Terrine de Fois Gras a la Vanille

I had: Foie Gras Poele (with Mango and Mango Sauce).

Picture: Foie Gras Poele

Annette’s foie gras was cold, mine was hot.

Foie Gras: Cold and Hot 

Typically, foie gras is eaten at room temperature, or slightly below, as my wife did. Her foie gras had been prepared into a terrine some time ago and the terrine had been kept cold. My wife was served a couple of slices of the Terrine de Foie Gras a la Vanille.

Less common is to eat the foie gras hot, as I did. My foie gras had been kept raw in the fridge and pan-seared for a couple of minutes before being served with warm mangoes and a mango sauce.

Cold Foie Gras: Parfaits, Pate, Terrine, Mousses

Generally, terrines de foie gras as well as parfaits, pâtés, foams and mousses of foie gras are all slow-cooked forms of foie gras, at low heat, typically flavored with truffle, mushrooms or brandy such as Cognac or Armagnac. The foie gras of my wife was “a la Vanille” and had been prepared with Malagasy vanilla. These slow-cooked forms of foie gras are served at or below room temperature.

Pictures: Villa Vanille

In French cuisine, pâté may be baked in a crust as pie or loaf, in which case it is called pâté en croûte or baked in a terrine (or other mold), in which case it is known as pâté en terrine. Additionally, a forcemeat mixture cooked and served in a terrine is also called a terrine.

Legally (in France), parfait de foie must have at least 75% content of foie gras and pâte de foie gras, purée de foie gras, mousse de foie gras and galantine de foie gras at least 50%.

Hot Fois Gras

Hot foie gras can be served roasted, sauteed, pan-seared (as was mine) or grilled. As foie gras has high fat content, contact with heat needs to be brief and at high temperature. Hot foie gras typically comes with a sauce.

100% Content: Foie Gras Entier, Foie Gras and Bloc de Foir Gras

According to French law, three forms of foir gras with a 100% foie gras content are distinguished: foie gras entier, foie gras and bloc de foir gras.

Foie gras entier is made of the liver of one animal, either one or two whole liver lobes.

Foie gras can come from different animals, but the foie gras content has to be 100%.

Bloc de foie gras is a fully cooked, molded block composed of (98% to) 100% foie gras. To prepare a block de foie gras, the liver is finely chopped and emulsified. If termed avec morceaux ("with pieces"), you can see the pieces of foie gras when you cut the bloc de foie gras in tranches.

See more: Foie Gras and Lazan’i Betsileo at Restaurant Villa Vanille in Antananarivo, Madagascar

Confit de Foie Gras at Kudeta

Another good place for foie gras in Antananarivo is the restaurant Kudeta. Kudeta has in addition to foie gras entiere poele and terrine de foie gras, which are described above, confit de foie gras on the menu.

Confit is a term used for various kinds of food that have been immersed in a substance for both flavor and preservation. Sealed and stored in a cool place, confit can last for several months. Confit is one of the oldest ways to preserve food. Meat confits are a specialty of the Southwest of France (Toulouse, Dordogne, etc.) and are used in dishes such as cassoulet.

The confit de foies gras is made as follows: The liver is salted and seasoned with herbs, and slowly cooked submerged in its own rendered fat, in which it is then preserved by allowing it to cool and storing it in the fat.

The confit de foie gras at the Kudeta was served hot and in slices. It looked a bit like like escalopes de foie gras. But the latter are slices of raw foie gras, which have been briefly roasted, sauteed, pan-seared or grilled.

Terrine de Foie Gras at Princesse Bora 

On the magic Island of Madagascar there is now a growing number of fine lodges, which offer lodging in the paradise with world class food. One of them is Princesse Bora Lodge on Ile Sainte Marie off the east coast of the Grand Ile de Madagascar. There are 2 things that are very particular about Princesse Bora Lodge, as far as I am concerned. First, it is a good place for whale watching during July to September, when the whales migrate from the Antarctica and arrive in Malagasy waters to give birth and to mate. Second, Princesse Bora Lodge has a good selection of wines, but does not have a wine card; you go - with or without the Sommelier - into the wine cellar and you select your bottle(s) of wine there.

For more see: Sea, Sand, Soul and Sakafo, and Whales and Wine – At Princesse Bora Lodge on Ile Sainte Marie in the Indian Ocean

Pictures: Terrine de Foie Gras at Princesse Bora



Schiller Wine - Related Postings

Schiller’s 12 Favorite Restaurants of Antananarivo, the Capital of Madagascar

A Comprehensive Guide - in Alphabetical Order - to the Restaurants of Antananarivo, the Capital of Madagascar

A Comprehensive Guide – Ordered by the Number of Stars - to the Restaurants of Antananarivo, the Capital of Madagascar

The Wines of Madagascar

Wining and Dining in Antananarivo, the Capital of Madagascar – Christian G.E. Schiller’s Private List of Restaurants in Antananarivo

The Wines of Madagascar - Good and Interesting Table Wines

Christian G.E.Schiller’s Private List of Restaurants in Antananarivo That Serve Malagasy Wine

Clos Nomena: Taking the Wine of Madagascar to New Heights

Fine Wine and Fine Oysters in Madagascar: Oysters from Fort Dauphin and Wine from Clos Nomena

Restaurant and Hotel AKOA – An Oasis of Tranquility in the Buzzing Third World City Antananarivo in Madagascar

Tsiky – Charming Restaurant in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Serving Good Food and Malagasy Wines

Sea, Sand, Soul and Sakafo, and Whales and Wine – At Princesse Bora Lodge on Ile Sainte Marie in the Indian Ocean

Foie Gras and Lazan’i Betsileo at Restaurant Villa Vanille in Antananarivo, Madagascar

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