Foie Gras

Foie gras, France's delicacy made of the liver of a duck or goose fattened by "gavage" (force feeding), is a Le Lot specialty known for its rich and buttery taste. The area is home to a number of associations, notably La Quercynoise, producing the full range of traditional varieties:

  • Whole livers (Foie gras entier)
  • Assembled from multiple livers (Foie gras) 
  • Blocks pre-cooked and molded from multiple livers (Bloc de foie gras)
  • Mouses (50 percent minimum foie gras)
  • Pâté (50 percent minimum foie gras)
  • Parfaits (75 percent minimum foie gras).

Foie Gras entier is either lightly roasted, sauteed or pan-seared leaving the center uncooked to very-rare. Restaurants in Le Lot typically serve "mi-cuit" foie gras, a method of preparation that refers to either searing a fresh liver lightly (usually on one side) or serving pre-cooked and pasteurized foie gras cold from metal tins or bocaux. Foie Gras may also be conserved for longer-periods of time, months or years, when cooked and pasteurized at higher temperatures.


Paté is made from minced meat and fat, most often baked as a loaf in a terrine (a metal or porcelain baking dish that serves as the namesake of the "Terrines de Paté" seen in charcuteries and restaurants).

Although French pâté is most associated with porc, Le Lot is renown for its duck and goose specialities. Other varieties include wild game like venison or boar. The minced meat and fat coalesce into a spread during baking that is then traditionally served as a spread with bread or toast. Types of pate found in different percentages of liver, meat, poultry, game, fat and seasoning according to recipe include:

  • Pâté de Campagne (country pâté) usually  made with a recipe of pork, liver, fat, onions, garlic, parsley and country herbs. 
  • Pâté au Foie de Canard (Duck liver pâté) usually made with duck liver, pork meat, duck meat, fat, onions, garlic, parsley and country herbs.
  • Pâté au Foie d'Oie (Goose liver pâté) usually made with goose live, pork meat, goose meat, fat, onions, garlic, parsley and country herbs.

Commercially, paté is most often found in tin cans or in "bocaux" (sealed glass jars) ranging from table fare to upscale gourmet. Charcuteries and local grocery stores offer fresh varieties cut from the terrine molds. Homemade pâté is found as a staple at lunch and dinner throughout Le Lot.

Paté and Foie Gras

Paté and foie gras are among Le Lot's best known products. Known as a luxury product outside of France's producing regions, the area's foie gras tradition reflects a very high quality at reasonable prices. Restaurants offer preparations ranging from foie gras on a Salade Quercynoise to pan-seared on high heat with toasts finished with sweet fig marmalade and coarse salt. Paté is a staple on the dinner table of every home as a traditional entrée before the meal. The Lotois pride themselves on home made pate but it may also be found at every charcuterie or market. Pâté de champagne (rustic preparation) and rillettes (rich and stringy) are the local specialties.  



Rillettes is a Le Lotot specialty similar to pâté usually made from pork, goose, or duck. In contrast to paté's use of the liver, rillettes is made mostly with bits of meat. The consistency of rillettes is softer and fattier than most pâté due its slow-cooked preparation. The meat is cubed or chopped, salted heavily and preserved slowly in fat until tender enough to be shredded. Once cooled, the resulting mixture forms a spread. Rillettes is served as an appetizer to spread on baguette or country bread, often paired with a cornichon to balance the richness of gillette's rich aftertaste.

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