Foie gras is the specially fattened liver of a duck or goose that has gone through a process called gavage (corn force-feeding). It is a very well known delicacy in French cuisine and has a rich and delicate flavor unlike that of a regular duck or goose liver.
This technique dates back as far as 2500 BC. The ancient Egyptians used birds for food and fattened them through force-feeding. These days this process is controversial in many countries and some of them have adopted a natural voluntary feeding process with good results.
Foie gras is a very versatile product, used in terrines, pâtés, parfaits, foams and mousses. It can also be part of sauces, used to stuff raviolis, or even marinated with Cognac or Armagnac and then seasoned and cooked mi-cuit.
The easiest way to eat it is to spread it on a piece of toasted bread, then season it with salt crystals and black pepper, and finally add a touch of sweet, such as a jelly or marmalade. It goes well with a chilled late harvest wine. In my house we made a papaya-ginger marmalade to go with this Laguiole foie gras sent to us by Michel Bras!