A Global Taste Test of Foie Gras and Truffles

Jean Georges' signature dish of foie gras brule with sour cherries and caramelised pistachios i i

hide captionShanghai restaurant Jean Georges' signature dish is foie gras brulé with sour cherries and caramelized pistachios. Chef Eric Johnson says Chinese diners equate foie gras with fine dining — and like to order it.

Louisa Lim, NPR
Jean Georges' signature dish of foie gras brule with sour cherries and caramelised pistachios

Shanghai restaurant Jean Georges' signature dish is foie gras brulé with sour cherries and caramelized pistachios. Chef Eric Johnson says Chinese diners equate foie gras with fine dining — and like to order it.

Louisa Lim, NPR
Chefs Eric Johnson and Stefan Stiller sitting at a table full of plates i i

hide captionTop chefs Eric Johnson and Stefan Stiller carry out NPR's blind taste test of goose liver paté and truffles.

Louisa Lim, NPR
Chefs Eric Johnson and Stefan Stiller sitting at a table full of plates

Top chefs Eric Johnson and Stefan Stiller carry out NPR's blind taste test of goose liver paté and truffles.

Louisa Lim, NPR

China is known around the globe as the source of consumer products, but its businessmen are setting their sights on the gourmet food market.

Chinese suppliers say their foie gras, caviar and truffles are just as tasty as their European cousins but have the added benefit of being cheaper. But some connoisseurs argue that China's gourmet offerings are inferior in taste.

NPR's Louisa Lim sought expert opinions from a pair of expatriate chefs based in China: Eric Johnson of Jeans Georges and Stefan Stiller of Mimosa Supper Club.

Putting their discerning palates to the test, Lim subjected them to a blind tasting of European and Chinese truffles and goose liver paté.

The two were unable to identify the origin of the truffles they tried and gave both the European and Chinese versions a failing grade.

However, in the second and third rounds, Johnson and Stiller immediately identified the imported foie gras and declared it better tasting.

On the question of whether China's products entering the market posed a threat to other gourmet food suppliers, Johnson concluded, ". . .in terms of the best of the best and those types of things, as far as I'm concerned, there still isn't much of an issue."

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