Famous Foie gras



Top of the culinary list for those discovering the Dordogne Valley is the gourmet speciality - Foie Gras. Goose and duck pâté is one of the famous food delicacies here.

However, be sure never to call it ‘pâté’ when buying or ordering it as this term is used for lesser foods in the French language! This mouth watering delight is an integral part of French culture and gastronomic heritage. So much so that 79% of the worldwide production of Foie Gras is produced in France and most of this production in turn comes from the Dordogne Valley.

Often a family affair, age old techniques and recipes have been handed down from generation to generation. Originally invented by the Egyptians, the production of Foie Gras came about with the discovery that some birds naturally gorge themselves on maze and other crops in preparation for the winter migration, consequently enlarging their livers in doing so. In the farming of ducks and geese for their liver, the practice of ‘gavage’ or force- feeding occurs just before the culling process. Strict animal protections enshrined in French law ensure the birds are not maltreated and the gavage process is very short, with most birds living outside for the vast majority of their lives. Producers in the region are committed to animal welfare and ecologically informed farming methods, believing that the well-being of the livestock ensures a superior quality product. Flocks of birds can be seen waddling around in fields, munching on local maize as the temperate Dordogne climate makes for ideal raising conditions.

Nothing is wasted in the production of the liver. Magrets (breasts) are sold fresh or dried and are a meat delicacy in their own right. Giblets are cooked and preserved in duck fat and make a wonderful addition to a salad. Washed down with a glass of local wine, Foie Gras, confit and all the related dishes that derive from duck and goose production make a tantalising choice on the shady terrace of any restaurant basking in the Dordogne sun.



The annual Fest’Oie takes place in the first weekend of March in Sarlat. The town comes alive to the sound of music as bands playing traditional French tunes wander the ancient cobbled streets. All around the enticing aromas of cooking stands fill the air and on Saturday night it is La soirée Bodég’oie. Held in the medieval heart of Sarlat, diners sit in heated marquees and sample the feast, prepared by the leading restaurateurs of the town, all from 100% local produce. The dish named after Sarlat itself - Sarladaise potatoes (delicious sautéed potatoes cooked in duck fat) is served accompanied by goose sausages and of course - Foie Gras. The next day, on Sunday, a gigantic lunch is staged, seating 1,000 or so in the middle of Sarlat. On the menu – a buffet style of some 15 dishes including the famous Foie Gras which is served on an all you can eat basis! www.sarlat-tourisme.com



Every Saturday morning, under the covered market hall of Brive-la-Gaillarde (Halle Georges Brassens), the bustling market hums to the sound of locals buying all manner of locally grown fresh vegetables and meats. Top end local fare can be found at numerous stalls overflowing with all kinds of delicacies, which can also be found on the menus of the excellent restaurants nearby. 

Not to be missed, winter fairs have existed in Brive since the 13th century. Called Foires Grasses (fatty fairs) they feature duck and goose products and everything in between, five times a year between November and March.