We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Foie Gras?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Foie gras is the liver of the duck or goose that has been fattened by means of force-feeding the animal. Though it is thought to be French in origin, and the name is certainly French, the process of overfeeding water birds to produce a fatty liver and a foie gras type substance has been in practice for thousands of years.

It is believed that the first types of foie gras may have been made in Egypt, and the tradition was certainly carried on in Rome. The Egyptians also fattened calves in this way. How the tradition spread to Europe is somewhat in dispute. Some culinary historians believe that Gallic peasants preserved the method after the fall of the Roman Empire. Yet others believe that the Jews residing in Israel under Roman occupation may have used the method.

A chef to the Transylvanian court notes the making of foie gras in a book in 1680. It’s significant to note that the Hungarians are the second largest producers of foie gras in the world. Recipes for foie gras may have existed in both the area surrounding Hungary, and in France.

There are several types of foie gras, which can be purchased in France. The types are distinguished by the cooking process and also by the amount of duck liver used. Duck is often thought of as producing an inferior product to the goose liver. France strictly determines how foie gras is labeled. Foie gras entier, is a presentation of one or two whole liver lobes, and may be cooked or uncooked. Foie gras is composed of pieces of goose liver. Bloc de foie gras is just as it sounds, a molded block of the liver that can contain duck pieces.

Most are familiar with the use of the liver in pâté. Foie gras is often served in this form, accompanied by wine, and bread. Beef Wellington is covered with foie gras pâté before being covered in pastry or bread dough.

The force-feeding technique that produces foie gras has come under significant criticism lately. Force-feeding ducks and geese is often considered cruel, and can cause damage to the bird’s esophagus resulting in a painful, though short, existence. The geese and ducks are force-fed through a tube that stretches almost a foot (30 cm) down the interior of the neck. In this way, the animal cannot refuse the food, and though the process takes under a minute, many feel it is unnecessary to treat animals in this way.

There has been such revulsion on how foie gras is produced, that many countries are enacting laws to ban either purchasing or production of the food. Even Pope Benedictine encouraged people to stop the practice. Unlike other animal rights issues, support for bans or stopping production crosses political lines, and different forms of government.

Chicago has become the first city in the US to completely ban importation and production of foie gras. California proposes a ban by 2012, and New York has a similar ban in the works. Countries that have completely banned the production of foie gras include Ireland, Argentina, Denmark, Italy, Poland and the UK. Other bans are being considered or are in process of being made into law. There is no evidence that the French, however, will ban foie gras.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon271520 — On May 27, 2012

Foie gras is disgusting. It, and live down- plucking, are the worst abuses in the litany of animal abuses that exist on this planet. It's a disgusting exploitation of sentient beings.

By anon269323 — On May 17, 2012

People who breed these ducks and geese should be jailed. It's immoral and disgusting to treat any living thing this way!

By anon28761 — On Mar 21, 2009

What a gross and filthy practice! Leave the poor unassuming fowl alone!

By bananas — On Dec 28, 2008

Foie Gras has a very rich taste. You can have only a little. Often it is served with baguette at the start of a festive dinner.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.