The Cure - December 2013

Welcome to the December edition of The Cure

Our Holiday issue of The Cure is all about decadence. Rich, high-calorie goodness. Fred starts things off by covering everything you need to know about the most decadent, the most rich of them all, Foie Gras. Alanna McIntyre offers up the ultimate in wine pairings to wash it down, followed by our special cheese of the month. Next is an excellent article from Philip Docker at ShanDaph Oysters. At the end of it all we have news at the shop and our Holiday hours.


All about Foie Gras

By Frédéric Tandy

Rich and delicious, foie gras is a very popular in France, especially around Christmas time. Foie gras is almost always a part of any French celebration. And there are just so many options when cooking with it.  

At the shop we have three different foie gras products I’d like to tell you about including how to sear fresh pieces in a pan.

Foie gras mousse

A proper mousse should contain at least 50% foie gras. What we do at the shop is a mix of 60% foie gras, 30% regular duck liver and finally 8% heavy cream. The only other ingredients are shallots and brandy. The result is very smooth, fluffy and easy to spread on bread or a cracker. Try it will cubed, candied fruit (pictured above).

Foie gras Mi-Cuit and terrine 

This is 100% foie gras with no other added proteins. A lobe of foie gras is composed of 2 livers, one being bigger than the other. It's important to separate those 2 livers and have them at room temperature before handling too much. When too cold, they are hard like butter and could brake when removing the nerves, which is our first step. Next is curing the foie gras for 24 hours with salt, pepper and liquor. You can use ice wine, port wine, cognac or a combination. It's really up to your taste. After curing liver we put them in jars and cook at a low temperature. For our terrine, the livers are first cooked in the oven, moulded in a terrine and finally pressed down. 

Seared fresh foie gras

To properly sear fresh foie gras you want slices about half of inch thick. And there are also a couple tricks to know. The first is to use a pan with no fat content at a hot temperature. Foie gras is almost pure fat so there is no need to add more. The pan should be smoking. The second trick is not to cook too many pieces at once. The heat level of the pan will drop down too much and you won't get a nice sear. For example, if you have 10 pieces, cook 3 or 4 maximum at a time. Sear them for a minute on each side and take them out. When all your foie gras is done, finish them in the oven just before serving. Serve your seared foie gras on toasted brioche with some sort of chutney or jam. You can also try it with braised cabbage and a port wine reduction.


Wine pairing with Foie Gras

By Alanna McIntyre, Bishop's Cellar

The sommelier suggests 

My favourite thing to drink with foie gras and all of its incarnations is something sparkling. I love Champagne, but I don't think we necessarily have to go there to have a really great pairing. I'm thinking of a lesser known French sparkler called Blanquette de Limoux (Domaine J.Laurens Le Moulin, Blanquette de Limoux $23.00) The wine gets its name from the town and appellation at foothills of the Pyrenees in South West France. Locals claim that this white wine began to naturally sparkle at the onset of Spring and that this method of secondary fermentation in bottle predates that of its more famous (and expensive) cousin to the North, Champagne. The attractive sweet apple aromas and flavours and subtle yeastiness cuts through and equally compliments all of the creamy richness of foie gras. This wine is ooh so elegant - perfect for holiday entertaining with class! 

A few other great beverages to enjoy with foie gras are aromatic and viscous Alsatian Pinot Gris (2012 Gustave Lorentz Pinot Gris, $24), Belgian style beer and of course the classic pairing of the über rich Sauternes (2007 Chateau de Rayne Vigneaux, Sauternes, $36.00 375ml). Regardless of what you are sipping on, wine and food is always more enjoyable when shared with friends, so cheers to a happy holiday season!

Alanna McIntyre is a Sommelier at Bishop's Cellar. Visit their great location and follow them on Twitter.

The Cheese course

Vacherin Mont d'Or

There's no better cheese for the Holidays than the decadent Mont d'Or. Available during the winter months, Mont d'Or is made from the milk from cows that normally help produce Gruyère and Comté during the summer. Mont d'Or is gloppy, thick and full of intensity. Eat all this gorgeousness with roasted heads of garlic, potatoes, hearty breads and thick slices of ham. It's winter, make a meal out of it!

From: France or Switzerland
Type: Pasteurized (Swiss) Unpasteurized (France) cow’s milk
Fat content: 45% to 50% 
Texture: Creamy 
Aged: 5 to 7 weeks
Taste:  Fresh cream, wood, garlic, and butter.
Accompaniments: Crisp white wines, Chardonnay, or even Champagne

Pleasures of oyster farming in
Nova Scotia

By Philip Docker

The first oyster I had was at the age of seven or eight. I did not have another until I was in my late teens and I do not recall that I was hooked immediately. I now have the great pleasure of growing oysters and even more enjoyable, often providing people with the occasion to experience their first oyster. The oysters that I now grow are genetically related to the first oyster I had and come from the same body of water that my first oyster came from. I have eaten oysters from a lot of different places on the globe but feel that Nova Scotian oyster farmers produce oysters which hold their own against any in the world.

On the ShanDaph Farm it takes between four and seven years to produce a ShanDaph Oyster. After four to seven years oysters are harvested in a natural setting and packaged onsite in a federally registered solar-powered facility-- the only one in Atlantic Canada. Great pride and effort is taken on the farm to be as environmentally and socially sustainable as possible. With the goal of producing an experience for people which provides them with pleasure. The pleasure of the taste of a ShanDaph and the pleasure in knowing where their food comes from, how it is grown and who grows it.

One of the enjoyable parts of growing oysters on the ShanDaph Farm is experiencing and seeing all the incredible organisms and animals that live in or around the environment I grow in. Whether it is finding a six legged starfish, watching small inch size flounder zooming about your feet or watching an eagle catch a fish from the flats, I continue to be amazed.

Throughout the year, I often find myself saying thank you to the oysters or Mother Nature for the opportunity to do what I do. Heading in to the holiday season I find myself excited and thankful for the traditions, centered around ShanDaphs, which have started and continued and friendships which have developed over the years as a result. I am proud to say I am an oyster farmer in Nova Scotia.
Philip Docker is the owner of ShanDaph Oysters. Please follow him on Twitter for news on his excellent product.


Happening at Ratinaud

By Tom Crilley
Christmas specials
The Holidays are almost here! Once again we're offering our awesome gift baskets to help ring in the celebrations. First is the Duck Basket with Foie Gras, Duck Confit, Duck Proscuitto, Apple and Shallot chutneys for $75, it's the perfect gift for two. Next is the Rustic Basket with Country Pâté, Noix de Jambon, Brie de Meaux for $35. They're great gift ideas and we're thrilled to have them available again this year. Order the Duck Basket here and the Rustic Basket here and please don't forget to ask us about adding our other products to your baskets!

Philip Docker from ShanDaph Oysters at the shop 
On December 22nd Philip Docker from ShanDaph Oysters will be set up in our shop for all your oyster needs. It'll be a great opportunity to come meet a local producer and get to know more about where the best oysters in Nova Scotia come from. See you at the shop on the 22nd from 8am to 1pm!

We have a few things to celebrate. December 1st marked our second year on Gottingen. Our neighbourhood is exploding and totally exciting. Halifax has an incredibly vibrant culinary scene going and we couldn't prouder to be a part of it all. 2013 has been a wonderful year full of changes, challenges and growth. Thank you for being there with us!

Next is The Kitchen Table. One year ago we started hosting private dinners at the shop and the reception couldn't have been better. We love doing these events and every single one has been special. We're thrilled to continue offering these unique dinning experiences in 2014. See you at The Kitchen Table.

Last, from all of us at Ratinaud, please have a safe, warm and Happy Holiday full of family, friends and great food and drink. Your support and feedback means more than we can express. Joyeux Noël et Merry Christmas à tous! See you all in 2014!

Holiday hours and vacation

Monday, December 23rd - Open from 10am to 7pm
Tuesday, December 24th - Open from 10am to 3pm
Wednesday, December 25th - CLOSED
Thursday, December 26th - CLOSED
Friday, December 27th - Regular hours
Saturday, December 28th - Regular hours
Sunday, December 29th - Regular hours
Monday, December 30th - Open from 10am to 7pm
Tuesday, December 31st - Open from 10am to 3pm
Wednesday, January 1st - Monday January 20th - CLOSED FOR VACATION

For Holiday greeting exchanges try:
Email - FacebookTwitter - Instagram - YouTube 
Analog here: 
+1 (902) 446-8222

Season's Greetings from all of us at Ratinaud!
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