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An Englishman`s take on a French Custom

In years gone by I have enjoyed foie gras, both of goose and of duck, in France and in England. On one occasion it was accompanied by an intensely sweet golden wine, a fine Sauternes, as a starter with caramelized apples and toasted brioche; on another served simply on melba toast with fig, with an aged Pinot Gris, a dry white, from Alsace. On yet another occasion I had it on steak with a Saint-Emilion, a dry red, from Bordeaux.  We even used to sell it in our shop.  I recall extolling its virtues, including how well it went with a variety of different wines.  But then a thing happened. It wasn’t that I suddenly found out about the force-feeding (the “gavage” as the French call it), I guess I always knew about that; I simply saw a picture one day and went off the idea of it. Same with veal, hearing a cow cry (just last year) after losing its young. I come from a farming background, and   certainly don`t judge others on their choices, simply, there came two moments in my life when I ceased to partake. They were no longer for me.  Ever since, I have enjoyed finding alternatives:   a variety of paté and terrine, accompanied with fruit-bread, or gingerbread, and the mulberries from our garden; alternatively, with confit apricots, or mango.  I like big, fat white dry wines, to match, but not overly dry. Good white burgundy like the Saumaize-Michelin Pouilly Fuissé “Vigne Blanche”. Alternatively, Pinot Noir reds work well, Catherine Marshall`s “on Sandstone” from Elgin in South Africa, or, indeed, burgundy`s Theulot-Juillot Mercurey “Vieilles Vignes”, the 2015 vintage sensational right now.  The combinations are infinite, and I don`t miss the old ways at all. In beef, it is the best possible cuts, of sirloin, fillet or rib eye, every bit as good as veal, even better, with darker, meatier reds, of Sangiovese or Syrah, for example our ever popular Chianti Riserva Fagiano, or the highly regarded Yann Chave Crozes Hermitage “Le Rouvre”.  So, so good.



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