My Holy Grail, my White Whale -- Foie Gras Salt

When I was in Nancy, France I happened upon a small kitchen shop that sold, among other things, little packages of Foie Gras Salt. I am assuming it's for use in the making of it's namesake but let me tell you, a little on some cottage cheese with fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes!? HEAVEN.

I am at a loss as to what's in it, however. Trying to translate the ingredients I come up with the ever ambiguous "spices". I am about to cash out my life savings to fly back and buy a bushel of it so I never have to imagine running out. I tried emailing the store to see if they could ship me some but my pleas went ignored so...

Do any of you have any clue what might be in it so I can try and replicate it?

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nogaga
nogaga August 31, 2011

I'd bet its a flaky trufled sea salt with one or two warm spices.... Do you know the name of the shop? I have friends in Nancy.

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GretchinF
GretchinF September 1, 2011

Ugh, you know what? I made a mistake... the shop was in Strasbourg, France right next door to the cathedral.

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Greenstuff
Greenstuff September 1, 2011

Well, Nancy and Strasbourg are close enough together that you can be forgiven! I've seen foie gras salt from Strasbourg before--but they've always just said that they include a pretty big mix of herbs. I see from the web that Edouard Artzner markets one, along with foie gras products, but I don't think you can get them in the States. Is that whose you have?

Edit: Good news (at least it is less than the price of an airplane ticket). Edouard Artzner does indeed ship to the States--it's a little expensive. Here's the page for the salt: http://www.edouard-artzner.com/sel-epice-p-20.html

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usuba dashi
usuba dashi September 1, 2011

Make life easier. Get a hold of one of Ariane Daguin's books, co-founder of d'Artagnan. No one knows more about foie gras in the USA than she does. I am sure she will have a recipe for foie gras spices. Knowing Ariane's style of cooking, she would probably have quatre epices as a base . . . building out from there.

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nogaga
nogaga September 1, 2011

You've totally captured my imagination with this question. I love foie gras, I love salt....

I found the following foie gras recipe, out of Strasbourg: http://www.bruck-foiegras.com/fr/recette.php. If we were to idolate the salt and spices from the other ingredients, we'd be left with salt, truffles, morels, madeira, nutmeg, white pepper and chives.

The chives seem a poor fit to me, but I trust the source.... Does this ressemble what you remember?

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nogaga
nogaga September 1, 2011

Oops. No truffes. That was my fantasy speaking....

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Greenstuff
Greenstuff September 1, 2011

I'm also feeling a bit like Captain Ahab about this one. If you google "sel épicé," you'll find a number of recipes. Some include cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, mace, pepper, coriander seed, but also herbs, such as bay and basil. And others go in completely different directions. (The Artzner brand includes 13 spices.)

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GretchinF
GretchinF September 1, 2011

@Greenstuff - The packet I have is not Edouard Artzner but one that is in a cellophane bag with a maroon cloth hang-tag. No brand, unfortunately. I think you may be on to something with the "sel épicé" recipes, however. It seems to have those warm cinnamon/clove/nutmeg/mace profiles. It is much darker and of a finer grain than the image of Artzner's though.

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usuba dashi
usuba dashi September 1, 2011

@GretchinF - Sounds like quatre epices to me

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GretchinF
GretchinF September 1, 2011

@usuba dashi - I agree, although with a substitution for the ginger I am thinking.

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Greenstuff
Greenstuff September 1, 2011

Okay, I'll go along with the quatre épices. They are pretty common in Alsatian cooking. Besides the standard pepper, nutmeg, clove, and ginger, Alsatian cooks sometimes add other spices--the ones like cinnamon, mace, coriander, cayenne, even juniper.

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MirepoixUSA
MirepoixUSA September 5, 2011

I've been in the foie gras business for seven years and I am embarrassed to admit, I know nothing of foie gras salt. I will check with my French food suppliers and see if I can uncover anything. Will report back.

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GretchinF
GretchinF September 6, 2011

@MirepoixUSA - Awesome, thanks!

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