(22 Dec 2016) LEAD IN
An award wining Spanish foie gras is capturing the attention of food lovers all over the world for its taste and ethical production.
The farmers use wild geese that are allowed to roam freely and feed only when they choose.
Geese walk freely among the trees in this five hundred hectares of farm in Spain’s Extramadura region.
Here there are plenty of acorns, grass and olives to keep the geese happy and well fed.
The farm, in the village of Pallares, belongs to Eduardo Sousa.
It’s located on a wild geese migration path. Every year, hundreds of wild geese fly over the family farm. But lots of them choose stay.
During the year, geese only eat what’s on the farm, naturally.
« Here geese are eating, principally, acorn, and a lot of grass. And all this really helps them to develop more natural fat, grease. Because, every animal when the cold is coming, needs to accumulate a lot of fat in order to live normally actually. »
However, when it’s winter time, Sousa gives them organic corn to help them with the cold.
The animals can choose to leave at any time and their numbers vary according to the time of year.
« Here in the domain we have about one thousand geese. More or less. And it’s the maximum because it’s the capacity of the farm. Geese are regulating themselves here. Which means that, as they need to eat sufficiently, because they are not animals we are feeding, they decide how many there are here. »
The farm has been in Sousa’s family heritage since 1812. His grandfather named it La Pateria de Sousa.
At first the family was producing lots of paté, however Eduardo decided to focus on totally organic and ethical foie gras.
Foie gras means fat liver in French and is a luxury food product made from the liver of a goose or duck.
In France, the birds are force-fed through a tube. It’s a controversial process that has been banned in some countries.
In 2006, during the France International Food Fair, Sousa won the prize of Best Foie Gras in the World.
In 2013, Sousa teamed up with Diego Labourdette, who has a PhD in ecology and who is a biologist, to launch Sousa and Labourdette.
Together they make around 1,000 units of foie gras each year at the end of winter.
« Usually it (the foie gras) can weigh between 400 and 600 grams. So it’s smaller than the industrial one. It’s colour is a bit darker too, because geese have eaten lots of acorn, and more corn and that’s why it’s more yellow, » says Sousa.
Labourdette says the secret to their foie gras is that it is totally natural and is seasonal.
« When we received the prize for the best foie gras, at first, as a biologist, I thought it was logical. Because this is the real foie gras. It’s the ancestral foie gras. Others are also foie gras but they can be produced during all the year. Ours isn’t. It’s a seasonal product, and totally natural. And to us this is normal. It’s a different foie gras, it is smaller, it’s a goose foie gras, usually, goose foie gras force-feeding can weigh more than 1 kilogram, our is only 500 grams. So it’s smaller, but the taste is exceptional. Why? because it has less fat, it has more natural protein and less fat than others on the market. And that’s what makes it a unique product. »
Their foie gras is available throughout Europe and is gaining notoriety, even in top French restaurants.
In Paris, at famous restaurant Antoine, chef Stephane Gabrielly says the product is unique.
« It is actually as a great wine, or as a great truffle, a great product. Because when you eat it several things are happening at the palate level and also there are some brain connections which make you say that it’s a real long finish. So an exceptional thing. »
Each terrine weighs 180 grams, and costs 195 euros.
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