Lightly Salted – Versus: Pâté VS Terrine

How much do you know about these blended, shredded and layered forms of charcuterie? All pâtés are terrines, but the reverse is not true. Pâtés don’t require much effort to make but a terrine requires time and devotion to master. Both a way to cook and preserve meat before the advent of the refrigerator in France, never get these two mixed up again.


Pâté translates to ‘paste’ in English. They are smooth, light and comprise predominantly duck or chicken livers, although you may sometimes make them out of fish, vegetables or beans. The ingredients in a pâté are usually pan-cooked and texturised through blending or whipping until it becomes silky. For a smoother texture, some pâtés have milk in them.

Pâtés can be part of a terrine. Think about this way: a pâté is a species of plant in the garden – which is your terrine. They add a wonderful dimension to the overall mixture with its contrasting textures.

Always, always have wine with your pâté. Many swear by them as a match made in heaven.


The most fundamental difference between a pâté and a terrine is in the translation. Terrines are translated literally to “large earthenware pot”, a derivative of ‘tureen’ in English. Terrines are a 100% French and is simply put, a layered dish in a pot or jar. In the hands of a master (or a French chef), a terrine is a masterpiece of artful flavours all layered into a chunky dish.

Similar to the pâté, a terrine is a dish of ground meat, organ meat, seafood, boiled eggs and herbs, jammed into a ceramic or steel mould and cooked in a water bath. Then, it is cooled and ready to be sliced and served. Common methods of enjoying terrines are wrapping them in puff pastry of baked, for “pâté en croute”.

Know the difference yet? Bring this knowledge on your next meal at a French restaurant and impress your date!

*Find this article in our latest issue: A French Affair