Souls and Goose Livers

“Burgundy,” said Erasmus, “is the blessed province, and should be called the mother of men, since she nurses them on such wonderful milk.” He was speaking of her wines of course, which we found out were perfect with pâtés!

We just returned from our Bordeaux and Burgundy wine evaluation trip. In addition to the wine, the foie gras and pâtés from the local charcuteries did us under!

Our friend and warehouse landlord Mi­chael Crozier, who is a food broker, had arranged that we tour the plant of Rougie, world famous pâté and foie gras makers. They are located in the Perigord region of France, in the little town of Sarlat.

Odile, a lovely and knowledgeable young woman, from the Rougie export depart­ment, greeted us and was to be our guide. We donned plastic coats and the tour start­ed. We were escorted into a large room where workers were seated at various tables; packing tills with foie gras, cleaning goose liver, chopping truffles, plus other cooking activities. The premises were spot­less. Workers all wore white coats and white sabot shoes. I was told these shoes were easy to wash and sterilize.

The goose livers were delivered fresh dai­ly by local fanners. The geese are force fed to produce livers that are large and tasty. They weigh 1 1/2 to 2 lbs each. They are graded, and then deveined by ladies sitting at long marble slab tables. Tedious and technical work. The livers are then incorpo­rated into the various products made at Rougie. The various foie gras and pâtés are cooked in hermetically sealed containers at 212 degrees. Pâtés and foie gras from Rougie have a 4 year shelf-life.

Foie means liver and gras means fat. The ratio of goose liver to fat is important, and at Rougie, there is a minimum of 50% goose liver in the foie gras.

Rougie is a family owned and operated business since 1912 and exports 50% of its production. About 30% is exported to the U.S. (a little less this year because of the declining dollar), 13% to Japan and even some to Saudi Arabia. None is exported to Russia!

Foie Gras dates back to Egypt, where their ancient art shows us definite evidence that geese were fattened with dried figs for their goose livers, which were appreciat­ed throughout Greece and Rome. In more recent times, pâtés were welcome at all banquet tables in England during the Mid­dle Ages.

Rougie Foie Gras and Pâtés are availa­ble at specialty markets in many California metropolitan areas. They are a taste treat, and well worth the price. If any foie gras deserves Chateau Y’Quem, Rougie certain­ly qualifies. It does not seem like a sweet dessert wine should be consumed with goose liver pate, for an appetizer course. I, having tasted this mild and exquisite foie gras by Rougie,  can visualize the match. One of these days when Paul splurges with a bottle of Y, I will serve it that way.

Next month, you will get to make yourself a Burgundian pate’. No gooselilvers here. Easy and fun.

Enjoy the Holidays. Eat selectively!

– Rosemarie

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