Making a Pâté de Foie Gras in Southwest France

November 19, 2020  |  By Liz SanFilippo Hall
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A charcuterie platter in France isn’t complete without a pâté!

At its simplest, a pâté combines ground meat with fat, and it’s traditionally cooked in a terrine — but not always. The process of making a pate sounds quite simple; according to Chef Larry of our Chateau Cooking in Bearn culinary vacation, it’s a matter of mixing all the ingredients together, putting them in the dish (such as a terrine), cooking for two hours, and then allowing it to set in the fridge for a couple days before consuming.

See all our cooking vacations in France.

DuckBut as ‘simple’ as that process is, it does take some work; as Chef Larry says, “You need to meticulously clean the duck meat, and there are some 145 nerves and sinews in a duck.”

So what you need most of all when it comes to a delicious pâté? Patience. But the ingredients, of course, help too.

Ingredients vary, and can include pig meat or wild game… or as is common in the Southwest of France, duck. Herbs also add flavor to the pâté as does an alcohol — like Armagnac — or perhaps even wine. Depending on the recipe, don’t be surprised to see other ingredients, like dried cherries, or pistachios included too!

Try a wonderful French recipe for duck breast. 

If it’s made in a terrine, it looks like wonderful little meat loaf. But other containers can be used to store it, as Chef Larry did just the other day (pictured to the left) when he made a pâté de foie gras de canard a l’armagnac et orange. When it’s done, take it from the fridge and serve cold, spread across your favorite piece of bread. The melding of flavors is absolutely wonderful, and a delicacy that is a must-try when visiting this region of France for a culinary tour.

Our cooking vacation with Chef Larry was a foodie heaven, but he has since sold the chateau and moved on to other endeavors. Still, we have a number of cooking vacations in Southwest France that feature such traditional dishes as foie gras and duck confit, visits to the local farms, and dinners at Michelin-star restaurants and local eateries. And those are just some of the highlights of our food tours in France.

By Liz Hall

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