D’Artagnan is one of the most important suppliers of luxury proteins and ingredients to many of the nation’s top restaurants.
My chef friend Christine Nunn, of Picnic Caterers in Emerson, was recently invited over to visit the D’Artagnan facility in Newark. For those of you not familiar with D’Artagnan, it is the premier supplier of luxury ingredients to many of New York City’s top restaurants. What D’Artagnan is most famous for, however, is that it is one of the largest (if not the largest) distributors of domestically produced Foie Gras in the United States. Rachel and I decided to come along and take some photos, so we could show you what this very impressive operation is all about.
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D’Artagnan runs a large fleet of trucks which distribute its goods throughout the New York Metro area. Virtually every high-end restaurant that you know of uses them as a supplier for specialized foodstuffs such as Foie Gras, Duck, Organic Poultry, Pork, Superpremium Beef and Buffalo, truffles and wild mushrooms.
At the heart of the D’Artagnan empire is Ariane Daguin, who co-founded the company with George Faison in 1985 and acquired full ownership in 2005.
Like many of her Gascony countymen — Ariane fancies herself a descendent of Charles de Batz-Castelmore d’Artagnan, the captain of the Musketeers of the Guard who served King Louis XIV, who was the basis for the D’Artagnan character in the famous novel Les Trois Mousquetaires by Alexander Dumas. Gascony is also home to Armagnac brandy and most notably, France’s Foie Gras production.
Ariane instructs Christine on how to make mayonnaise with a Rapier.
The heart of D’Artagnan’s operation is in its huge refrigerated warehouses, which are kept at a constant 32 degrees F. Here’s Rachel wearing a thermal coat. Don’t want her to catch another cold this year.
The refrigerated warehouses are absolutely gigantic. This is actually not a good representation of how packed it is with foodstuffs, as we came on a Friday and much of the stock had already been delivered to customers already.
Arianne with the aptly named “Jambon de Bayonne” French-style cured ham made locally in Bayonne, New Jersey. Virtually 90 percent of D’Artagnan’s products are produced right here in the United States.
Rachel attempts to pocket a Terrine de Foie Gras. HEY! PUT THAT BACK!
Medallion of Foie Gras with Black Truffles, one of D’Artagnan’s most popular products.
An entire case of domestic Hudson Valley Foie Gras lobes. Foie Gras produced in New York State is made with Ducks, not Geese as is used in Gascony. Foie Gras production in Hudson Valley is also much more humane than it is in France, as the animals are not caged.
Foie Gras lobe closeup.
Here is some domestically produced Wagyu Beef. Think this stuff looks marbled?
This is imported Kobe Beef from Japan. The portion Ariane is holding goes for about $900.00. A restaurant would typically serve a small cube of this as an appetizer, at around $30 a portion.
Buffalo Tenderloin primals. These would make a heck of a Wellington.
Here’s a box of Yellowfoot Chanterelle Mushrooms.
And my absolute favorite, Morels.
This is a higher grade of imported small Morels reserved for “4 Star” restaurants.
Black Perigord Truffles. While less intense in aroma than Black Truffles which are cultivated in the early winter, they still have a very strong odor and call for a very serious price.
Each of these White Asparagus spears is the size of a candle. I was going to make an obscene comment about their resemblence to something else but I thought better of it.
Ariane sniffing the bouquet of a Hen of the Woods mushroom.
Arianne with Ramps, which are now in season.
If you’re interested in ordering D’Artagnan products as either a restaurant or a private consumer, please call 1-800-327-8246 or visit the company’s web site.
For an interesting perspective on how serious New York chefs are about D’Artagnan and its products. you might be interested in watching the following movie.