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Last-Minute Gift From a Musketeer

December 22, 2009

There are only three more days until Christmas.  And perhaps my suggestion of mail-order farmed-raised caviar was a bit too rich for your blood in this craptacular economy.

Well, there is another decadent food gift that can be had for significantly less.  Shipping is still going to be a killer, because like the fish eggs, this needs to be sent overnight on ice.

But the up side is that it doesn’t look like a last-minute gift.  It always has to be sent FedEx.  It’s the nature of delicious highly perishable food.
This too came from a gift I received many years ago.  Mrs. Fussy and I were sent a box from D’Artagnan.  Not the musketeer.  Rather, the company that specializes in mail order of specialty poultry, meats, foie gras, and other gourmet sundries.  And while everything in the box was delicious, there was one thing that ruled the roost.

They are called French Kisses.

It’s a horrible name.  But they are so good.  And you can buy them by the 12-ounce box for $12.  That of course is before shipping.  Maybe you’ll want to send two boxes.

This tasty treat is an Armagnac-soaked pitted prune filled with a foie gras mousse.

I should really write a post all about Armagnac.  But for now, let’s just say it’s a region in France that makes brandy.  It is nearby the more famous, but not necessarily better, brandy-producing region of Cognac.

And if you have never had an Armagnac-soaked prune, you are missing out.  On their own, these boozy fruits make a stunning topping for vanilla ice cream.  Think rum raisin turned up to 11.

But then to take this sweet and complex morsel and fill it with rich and silky foie gras mousse is just inspired.  It’s unctuous on top of unctuous.  It’s completely decadent.  And it was a treat I didn’t want to share.

Plus I have no idea how our government’s war against foie gras is going.  So I say eat it now before you have to buy it on the black market, or smuggle it in from Canada.

Just thinking about this treat has me literally smelling plums right now.  It’s spooky.

Time is of the essence.  The D’Artagnan website says that if you order by noon Eastern time today, your order will arrive via FedEx by December 23.  It’s an odd statement, because FedEx seems to deliver on December 24.

To me that means you should be able to order by noon Eastern time on December 23, and your order should arrive via FedEx by December 24.  But I would still advise checking with D’Artagnan directly if you want to get these for a Christmas gift after noon today.

Is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to wait until the very last moment?  I know very little about this holiday and its gift giving customs.  Mrs. Fussy and I are terrible with presents.  But that will have to be another story for somebody else’s blog.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Mama Ass permalink
    December 22, 2009 11:16 am

    I just sent two boxes to my sister. I hope she likes them. Shipping was the same for one or two boxes. Thanks for the idea!

    • Aunt Ass permalink
      December 24, 2009 11:26 am

      The package arrived! I will take photos of the packaging and boxes of French Kisses. I have never tasted foie gras before. I am going to an open house on Saturday and will take them to share and to try one in the company of others.

      • Mama Ass permalink
        December 24, 2009 2:10 pm

        How exciting! Will you freeze them until Saturday or will you simply keep them in the refrigerator? Are there specific fussy directions in the package?

      • Aunt Ass permalink
        December 28, 2009 7:45 am

        I have photos documenting the packaging. Up on Facebook, but still working to get them on a separate web site to link to here.

        There were no fussy little directions. On the box it said to freeze for longer storage and remove an hour before serving. Or refrigerate for up to ten days. I received them on the 23rd, so I just kept them in the refrigerator until the Boxing Day party.

        The party tables were groaning with food. I placed the French Kisses on the table alongside prosciutto-wrapped goat cheese and figs and a marble cutting board displaying a selection of English cheeses.

        The guest list included many European ex-pats, and it wasn’t long before I was introduced to a woman from Germany who very much considered herself a foodie. She instantly recognized the potential in the two little round boxes and agreed to share the experience with me.

        As the box said, “Ready to pop into your mouth.” I wasn’t sure I was ready. I had avoided foie gras for my entire 47 years. My father’s zestful appetite for beef liver and onions had soured me on the idea of organ meats back in the 1960s.

        But this was my sister’s gift to me, so pop goes the prune. I didn’t taste duck liver, I didn’t taste Armagnac, I didn’t taste prune. It was a complex taste. I tasted chlorinated water, I tasted a little algae.

        My memory went back to a pond at a Catholic retreat center, a former convent, in the Santa Cruz mountains above Los Gatos. I had walked around it silently one morning last summer, trying to banish all thoughts from my mind except unmodified nouns. Pond. Water. Algae. Ducks. Sip. Oops, a verb slipped in there.

        And that was all. I swallowed the morsel. I had no desire for another. In the past year I’ve refashioned myself into a yogini. Foie gras doesn’t really fit that approach to life. I can let it go. But I was happy to be given the gift of something that tasted nothing like what I called food. It tasted like something that had lived inside a thing with wings. Something that could fly and float. Something that could just spend all day sipping algae and thinking of nothing else.

  2. December 22, 2009 12:49 pm

    Great idea, Fussy. D’Artagnan is a resource worth checking out in general. And their foie gras, at least some of it, comes from an organic farm right down the road in the Hudson Valley.

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