Important disclaimer: Our non force-feeding goose foie gras is obtained naturally when geese prepare their migration, which occurs only once in a year. It is a natural process depending on many different factors including weather conditions and cannot be forced. Therefore, we cannot commit to any effective delivery or delivery date.
Sousa & Labourdette is what happens when two men share the same two passions: the love of foie gras, and a deep respect for nature.
The story begins in 1812 when Eduardo’s Danish grandfather moved to Extremadura, then as now one of the wildest and remotest areas of Spain.
Wild geese often flew over the family farm, which lay just under the birds’ migration path. But Don Martín noticed something extraordinary: some of these geese touched down in his farm and stayed on, attracted by the area’s wetland habitat, its mild climate and rich food resources.
The Sousa family’s geese are not strictly wild, but wander freely around their 500ha property, thus retaining their instinct to gorge on acorns and grasses during the winter months. This means that the family are able to produce something as rare as it is remarkable – a foie gras that’s entirely natural, sustainable and cruelty-free.
For many years the Sousas produced foie gras only for domestic consumption, potting the fat goose livers as presents or as a special treat for the family. But when Eduardo took over the farm, he decided it was time to let the rest of the world into his secret.
Diego Labourdette belongs to a family with its roots in south-western France - the heartland of traditional foie gras production.
Diego, who has a PhD in Ecology, spent five years studying the migratory patterns of European birds and their autumn journey from the chilly North to the wetlands of Andalucía and Extremadura.
It was during his research that Diego met Eduardo, and was able to confirm the natural capacity of wild geese in Spain’s deep south to fatten up their livers in preparation for the long migration.
And so Sousa & Labourdette was born. Sharing their experience and “savoir faire”, the two business partners began to work on the ethical production of a unique foie gras. Their product is based on traditional French recipes but obtained from semi-wild geese raised on a free-range system, respecting the animals’ natural life-cycle.
Migratory geese have a natural capacity to create and store fat in their livers. This fat, in the form of lipids, is the fuel they need for their long journeys across the continent.
Ancient Egyptian inscriptions dating from 4500BC suggest that the inhabitants of the Nile Delta had observed this seasonal phenomenon, and that goose liver was already valued as a supreme delicacy. From the very beginning, then, foie gras in its true form was both natural and seasonal, as well as a superlative gastronomic product. Over the centuries, however, this connection to the natural world was broken. The Greeks and Romans began to imitate nature by force-feeding geese with figs to fatten their livers artificially, thereby disconnecting the animals from their natural migration cycles and extending the process throughout the year.
Sousa & Labourdette's philosophy is twofold: a return to the essence of foie gras, combined with a strong commitment to the welfare of the geese and their environment.
The Sousa family has always valued goose rearing as a sustainable and low-impact farming practice with a highly sought-after finished product. Their free-range geese are partly domesticated, but are visited annually by their wild cousins, thus renewing the gene pool and maintaining the feeding instincts of the established flock.
When autumn comes round the geese begin to feed intensively, gorging day and night, in preparation for a migration journey. The animals are captured during the night by dazzling them with powerful lights and foie gras is harvested.
Sousa & Labourdette's commitment to ethical farming has been rewarded with both the organic label and the quality seal of Spain's National Association of Ethical Food Producers (ANPAE), guaranteeing the producer's commitment to conservation and animal welfare.
The eternal question. Goose foie gras is generally considered to be a much more superior product, the original succulent treat. But nowadays duck is more easily available and much more affordable, since it is also easier to produce.
Compare and contrast. Most of the world's foie gras is obtained from geese that are force-fed corn mash under the 'gavage' system, massively boosting the growth of the liver by artificial means.
Sousa & Labourdette's geese, meanwhile, feast on the wild foods they find all around them in the unspoilt landscape of Extremadura. Windfall fruit, wild seeds and grasses, and most importantly, acorns - the same acorns, rich in cholesterol-reducing oleic acid that forms the diet of Extremadura's famous ibérico pig.
Our production, obtained from the European greylag goose Anser anser, is entirely seasonal and natural. A whole year is required to produce a small, uniformly coloured, regular and fine-textured foie gras. Its superbly delicate flavour and characteristic golden colour (which derives mainly from wild yellow lupin seeds) is a direct consequence of the birds´ varied natural diet and their high quality of life, allowing them to fly and graze at will.
The peerless quality of Sousa & Labourdette foie gras has been discovered by the global gastronomic community. Within months of its launch on the market it was awarded a prestigious Coup de Coeur prize at the 2006 SIAL International Food Salon in Paris. Available in very limited quantities, it has been praised by internationally reputed chefs like Dan Barber, of Blue Hill restaurant in Manhattan. Dan once honoured us serving our foie gras at a special dinner held for President Barack Obama. A passionate enthusiast, he describes our foie gras as 'the culinary experience of a lifetime'.
Sousa & Labourdette foie gras is the best quality of foie gras you can find: it is ETHICAL, it is GOOSE and it is ENTIER.
Sousa & Labourdette is one of the few ethical producers of foie gras, and its production is strictly limited_
Sousa & Labourdette foie gras is produced according to the historically authentic method, taking advantage of the migratory instincts of wild geese_
Our geese are raised in a free-range system on the extensive grazing land of the dehesa (a semi-wild forest ecosystem covering much of south-west Spain).
The feed is 100% natural, consisting of wild grasses, seeds, figs and holm-oak acorns rich in natural oils. The result is a smaller foie gras than others on the market boasting a much more concentrated aroma and flavour.
Natural foie gras can be obtained only once in a year, during the winter season_
Our foie gras is precious, pure and simple. That’s why we prefer a recipe that preserves its natural flavour and delicate consistency. Sousa & Labourdette follow the French practice of canning the foie gras following a brief steaming process, while the product is presented in a hermetically sealed Kilner jar.
Fully Cooked Foie Gras: The most traditional way to prepare foie gras, fully cooked foie gras is preserved in its own fat and sterilized; this type of foie gras will be stored in a cool dark place for a long period of time. Like wine, preserved foie gras ages gracefully. Packaged in classic farm-style jar.
Just as we choose the cooking recipe that best preserves the original flavour and consistency of our foie gras, we recommend you do the same when tasting it.
When serving it, we would recommend placing our foie gras in the fridge for at least a few hours beforehand. Foie gras should be chilled but not ice-cold. 15 minutes before serving take it out from the refrigerator and immediately cut it into slices. For cutting use a smooth-edged knife and pass it under a hot running tap before use.
Foie Gras is best served as a starter when the food palate is still neutral. Deposit chunks of our foie gras on toasted triangles, crusty farmhouse bread, or even better, on some toasted brioche and enjoy it by letting the foie gras melt in the mouth.
Alternatively, you can beautifully associate it with some caramelised apple slices, oriental chutney or even some confit de vin (wine jelly)
When pairing wine with foie gras, the luxurious, buttery quality of foie gras calls for a good quality vintage wine, whether white, red or Champagne. In general, you should avoid young or very light-bodied wines. While the classic pairing with foie gras is Sauterne, we would say that the wine that usually works best is a wine that you really like.
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