Foie gras: from Egypt to Upigny
Foie gras is a delicacy that was first created by our ancestors. Their expertise in this art became a tradition that has been handed down to different generations over thousands of years. More than 4,500 years ago the Egyptians discovered the huge, rich-flavoured livers of wild geese that had gorged on grains before embarking on their migratory journey. They realised that these feathered creatures store fat spontaneously, so they decided to turn them into domestic animals and to feed them figs. This is where the longstanding tradition first started, a tradition that is visible in the 5th century Egyptian frescos in the Saqqara necropolis. The Romans were also particularly fond of foie gras and they started up duck and goose farms in Roman Gaul.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the tradition of producing foie gras extended to Central Europe under the influence of Jewish traders who used goose fat for cooking. The discovery of maize by Christopher Columbus resulted in an increase the practice of force-feeding ducks and geese throughout Europe.
The technique of force-feeding became popular everywhere from Alsace, Hungary, Bulgaria. Breeding ducks and geese and producing foie gras are still an integral part of the culture of these regions today and these regions are internationally renowned for their expertise in this specialist field.
After making a remarkable entry at the royal table of Henri IV, foie gras became a permanent feature in the most refined kitchens.
Upignac was first founded 30 years ago, in the small village of Upigny in the Hesbaye district of the province of Namur. It acquired a strong reputation as a Belgian producer of authentic foie gras.