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Posts tagged ‘Ariane Daguin’

Support Lupiac, the Birthplace of D’Artagnan

Lupiac is home to a new equestrian statue of our hero D’Artagnan. Help this little town in Southwest France raise enough money to beautify their central square where the statue resides.

Click through to the campaign and scroll past the French for the English language version … and then contribute to this good cause. Your tax deductible donation will help Mayor Veronique Thieux turn an asphalt square into a beautiful gathering place, and a fitting home for the statue.Capture

Where is Lupiac?

Lupiac is a small town of only about 300 people in the Gers department of Southwest France, just a few miles down the road from Auch, Ariane’s hometown and the capital of Gascony.

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Lupiac is best known as the birthplace of the real life D’Artagnan. Charles de Batz de Castelmore, lord of La Plagne, count d’Artagnan, was born about 1613 and left Lupiac when he was only 17 to join the king’s army: the musketeers. He was an inspiration to Alexandre Dumas, who included him in his famous tale The Three Musketeers, which is probably why the whole world knows his name all these years later.

Ariane, Father, D'Artagnan Statue

Ariane and Andre Daguin with the statue of D’Artagnan in Auch, France.

The Legacy of D’Artagnan

D’Artagnan continues to be an inspiration to those from his region, including Ariane. In 1985 she named her company after him, hoping to impart some of the brashness, bravery and panache that D’Artagnan embodied. And it meant she could always wear a plume in her hat.

As an example of the devotion shown to our hero, Lupiac comes alive each August with a D’Artagnan festival. Hundreds of costumed people recreate a fair as it would have been during D’Artagnan’s era, with swordplay, horses, music and craftsmen.

Learn more about Lupiac and plan your visit to one of the loveliest corners of France.

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Link to the crowdfunding campaign here, and give whatever you can. By contributing you become part of the legacy and history of D’Artagnan. All for one, and one for all! Tous pour un, un pour tous! 

5 Ways to Eat Caviar on National Caviar Day

It’s July 18th, so that means it’s National Caviar Day! Break out the bubbly!

Did you know that D’Artagnan has caviar? Our Ossetra Malossol Caviar is from a state-of-the-art French aqua farm and is raised in an ecologically responsible manner. You can learn about our caviar here.

Read on for our top 5 ways to eat caviar … on National Caviar Day or any day.

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It’s Bastille Day!

Happy Bastille Day! Bonne fête! Joyeux Quatorze Juillet! 

What is the holiday all about? It commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14 during the bloody revolution of 1789 – the one where all the aristocrats lost their heads.

Get the history here – and see how the French celebrate their day of independence.

At D’Artagnan, Bastille Day means pétanque, Pastis and lamb merguez sausage. Read on to see how Ariane celebrates Bastille Day.

A French classic: lamb merguez sausage dressed with mustard

A French classic: lamb merguez sausage dressed with mustard

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Chefs of Betony Come to Visit

We are always happy to have visitors at our Union, NJ office. When Chef Bryce Shuman of Betony in NYC made the trip, along with two chefs from his kitchen, he came bearing gifts.

From left to right: Alex, Pierre, Chef Bryce, Ariane, John, Chef Jack.

The first was an autographed dish for the wall of plates in our dining hall. The message reads: “Dear Ariane, Thank you for being one of our partners in greatness for many years, and for many more to come.  -Bryce and the team at Betony.”

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A dish from the team at Betony that will hang on our wall of plates in the dining hall.

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A Kinder, Gentler Way to Raise Chickens?

The New York Times recently reported that Perdue is making changes in how they raise chickens. They will overhaul animal welfare practices, making their plants more humane to give the birds better lives. It’s good to see one of the largest chicken producers in the nation talking about changes, however small they may be.

At D’Artagnan we have been advocates of humane animal husbandry for over 30 years. We have always supported and partnered with small farms that actually raise animals the most humane way, without antibiotics or added hormones, and at a slower pace.  We’ve been doing this since day one. In fact, our organic chicken was the first on the market – before the USDA had clear protocols in place for organic labeling.

Check out Eater’s article and interview with Ariane on this subject, excerpted below.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK…

  • How do you feel about Perdue’s announcement?
  • Do you think that real change can come from the massive factory farms?

Share your thoughts with a comment below.

Eater Chickens Perdue Article

Ariane Daguin, CEO and founder of D’Artagnan (an organic meat purveyor), says the labels slapped on meat have become diluted over time, largely due to the influence of the meat lobby. “Big factory farmers that say they produce organic chicken today often simply buy ‘organic’ grain from China — which isn’t even organic by U.S. standards. They can also tout that chickens have access to the outside —  but it’s usually one little door for 100,000 chickens.”

Daguin says the labels are confusing for consumers and “infuriating” for a company like D’Artagnan, which sells organic products at a higher price point than companies like Perdue. Though D’Artagnan and Perdue products might have similar labels, Daguin says her company holds its processes to a higher standard. “When people read the word ‘organic,’ the perception is that it’s a small family farm and the growers respect the animals,” she says. “I wish I could put, ‘more organic than the other guy’ on my product. Labels don’t necessarily mean the same thing for me and for Mr. Perdue, I guess.”

 

The Whole Foie Gras Duck

Ariane was honored to be a guest lecturer at the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC last week. Ariane is committed to educating and supporting the next generation of chefs, and she enjoys going to culinary schools to share her experience and wisdom. This time she demonstrated breaking down a whole duck – with the foie gras inside – and talked about the uses for each part.

The beak-to-tail philosophy means that we eat the whole duck, and waste nothing. From duck breast to duck leg confit, duck pâtémousse and duck fat … we enjoy every tasty bit.  The liver may be the big prize, but every part is valued. Even the bones are used to make demi-glace.

Ariane starts with the whole duck, foie gras and all.

Ariane starts with the whole duck, foie gras and all.

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Seeing Stars: What is the Michelin Guide?

Have you ever wondered about the Michelin Guide and its stars? The Guide (pronounced geed in French) gives out stars from 1 to 3 when it reviews restaurants; this is the most prestigious rating that a restaurant can get. The acquisition or loss of a star can have dramatic effects on the success of a restaurant. See the entertaining film The Hundred-Foot Journey to see what restaurants will do to keep their stars. So what do the stars represent?

One star: “A very good restaurant in its category”

Two stars:  “Excellent cooking, worth a detour”

Three stars: “Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”

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A Little History of the Guide

The Michelin Guide actually started as a way to sell more tires. By 1900 the tire makers André and Édouard Michelin had been in business for 11 years, primarily making bicycle tires. They were ready for the automobile age, even though they had a very limited audience for their car tires. There were only 3,000 cars in all of France at the time! In order to encourage use, and wear and tear on the tires, the brothers hit on a brilliant idea: write a guide book for hotels and restaurants that would entice motorists to make some road trips.

The original Michelin Guides were free and contained maps, instructions for changing and repairing tires, lists of mechanics, gas stations and other useful information for travelers.

Aventure Michelin - Clermont-Ferrand - 30/01/2012 - photos Bastien et François BAUDIN / Agence AUSTRAL

Aventure Michelin – Clermont-Ferrand – 30/01/2012 – photos Bastien et François BAUDIN / Agence AUSTRAL

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The France Issue

Saveur, one of our favorite food magazines, has an entire French issue out now. Plan your trip to France, or simply armchair travel … either way, there are recipes to try!

The issue has many articles and recipes that we love. Check out the profile of the revolutionary Chef Michel Bras, written by Chef Wylie Dufresne, to find out how much this quiet bespectacled chef has contributed to the culinary world.

Michel Bras and Jean-George Vongeritchen 25th anniversary dinner_MHT4536

Chef Michel Bras talking with Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Together they cooked a course for our 25th anniversary progressive dinner. Photo Michael Harlan Turkell

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Happy Mother’s Day!

There’s an old saying – when you want something done, ask a busy mother.

Ariane Daguin founded D’Artagnan in 1985, and treated it like her own child. Along the way, she became a mother. Her daughter Alix grew up at D’Artagnan – offering extra hands in the office and at our events; learning, playing, staying up too late, and eating a lot of good food. Their mother-daughter relationship is part of D’Artagnan history.

D’Artagnan is often called a woman-owned company, but it’s also a mother-owned company.

While building her business, Ariane nurtured her staff, her chef friends, and a whole community of food lovers – along with her daughter. Somehow, she managed to do it all. Because that’s what mothers do.

Today we thank and honor all mothers for working hard, with love in their hearts. For holding our hands and encouraging us. For always being there. We are inspired by each of you.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Ariane & Alix

Ariane and Alix in the early days of D’Artagnan

Perfect Mother’s Day Brunch: Waffles … or Foie-ffles

What’s better than chicken & waffles? Foie gras & waffles, bien sûr! Our recipe for foie-ffles (yeah, we made up that word) combines seared foie gras with fresh strawberry waffles, strawberry sauce, and tart balsamic syrup. They’re perfect for a special occasion brunch … let’s say for Mother’s Day.

Don’t be nervous about searing foie gras for this recipe. It’s easy as can be, and takes very little time.

Watch Anito Lo and our own Ariane sear foie gras in this video to see for yourself. If you can sear a steak in a pan, this will be a breeze.

In fact, the strawberry waffles are more complicated than the foie gras in this recipe. But we know you can handle those, too.

Foie-ffles: Strawberry Waffles with Seared Foie Gras & Balsamic Syrup

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Ingredients

FOR THE STRAWBERRY SAUCE

1 pound strawberries, hulled and diced
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

FOR THE WAFFLES

About 12 ripe strawberries, hulled and diced
2 tablespoons sugar, divided use
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier (optional)
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted, plus 4 tablespoons, melted, for the waffle iron

FOR THE FOIE GRAS

8 Individually Quick Frozen Foie Gras Medallions
Fine salt (we like Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt)
Balsamic Syrup

Preparation

  1. Make the strawberry sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine strawberries, ½ cup sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook until strawberries are very soft. Carefully add strawberries to a blender and puree until completely smooth. Pour sauce back into the saucepan and bring back up to a boil, cooking for about 3 minutes until sauce starts to thicken. Keep warm.

2. Make the waffles: Set aside 2 nice strawberries for garnish. Dice remaining strawberries and add to a bowl with 1 tablespoon sugar and Grand Marnier, if using. Stir then let strawberries macerate at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and remaining tablespoon sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk just until the mixture comes together. Fold in the macerated strawberries and 1 teaspoon of their juice along with the melted butter. Cover and let the batter rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

5. Heat waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s directions. Brush with melted butter and ladle batter onto the iron. Close the cover, and cook until crisp. Repeat. Transfer waffles to baking pan fitted with a rack and keep warm in the oven.

6. Prepare the foie gras: Heat a dry skillet over high flame. Using a sharp paring knife, score the foie gras in a crosshatch pattern. Season with salt. When the pan is very hot, add the foie gras and lower the heat to medium-high. Sear until the foie gras slices are dark brown. Turn them over and cook on the other side until fully cooked but still soft to the touch, basting a few times with rendered foie gras fat. Set foie gras slices on a paper towel to drain.

7. To serve: Pool strawberry sauce in the center of a plate. Place a warm waffle on top, off-center. Top with foie gras slices. Drizzle with balsamic syrup, garnish with half of a reserved strawberry. (To make balsamic “hearts” like we did in the above photo, instead of drizzling, place balsamic syrup in a line of dots inside the perimeter of the strawberry sauce. In a single motion, drag a toothpick through the center of each dot.) Serve.

If you make foie-ffles, please share photos with us on social media! Tag @dartagnanfoods on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter so we can cheer your efforts!