Once upon a time....
The word Terrine dates back to the Middle Ages and in French it simply describes an earthenware dish.
Terrine has the same origin as the English tureen, meaning something made from earth, of Terra. Terrin or therin (15th Century) means earthen and comes from Latin terrenus or terra 'of the earth'. China earthenware is also known as terracotta (french terre cruite).
Over time, the use of the word terrine has been extended to describe the food which is cooked in the dish we now know and describe as Pâté (/pæˈteɪ/).
Terrines or Pâtés were known to the Romans, Greek and French as early as the 11th century. In ancient Greece, Athenians sold Pâtés at the market along with other meats. It was mostly a way to make more money by utilising and selling every part of the animals they used.
But really it was the French who for a large part were trying to find a way of preserving meat and fish to last throughout the year. Back in the old days the patissier (pastry chef) would be in charge of the Pâté making. What started with just ground mince mixed with spices, cooked and eaten cold out of a Terrine evolved into Pâtés by wrapping several meats into a dough. The dough was a cover up to hide all the meat leftovers that have been used originally to make it look more appetising and appealing. Pâte means 'dough' and Pâté was originally baked in a crust (Pâté en croûte) to keep everything together.
During the Middle Ages, the French have turned Pâté into a true masterpiece, beautifully decorated for ceremonial feasts. They have been dedicated to famous people throughout the centuries. In honour of Cardinal Mazarine (Pâté a la Mazarine) or for the King (Pâté a la reine) are just examples.
Nowadays Terrines and Pâtés are a celebration of how to prepare and enjoy many different varieties of this traditional rustic dish, which has been loved for generations as a hearty meal perfect for sharing among family and friends. Many restaurant patrons, Terrines and Pâtés are delicate, fine, exquisite specialties that require great culinary skill and passion to create.
The classical French Pâte has a rich history, and while it may seem foreign to many, the Pâté and it's variations have become a very familiar and integral dish to many countries. 'Leverpostej' is a special liver Pâté found in Scandinavia, and is a favorite on sandwiches there. In Germany and Austria, Leberwurst a smooth and spreadable sausage shaped Pâté is popular, and the recipe came to the United States with immigrants calling it Liverwurst. You can find 'pechyonochniy pashtet' in Russia and Ukraine, a popular paste made from beef, goose or chicken liver. Even it Vietnam gan xay (Pâté) can be found on sandwiches. Pâté de Cerdo Iberico is famous in Spain making Pâté from the black pig.
It's time for New Zealand to become part of Pâté history. This is one of the reasons why a French patissier decided to start a business crafting both traditional and modern French Terrines and Pâtés using local products where possible and premium quality meats supplied by Havoc Farm Pork, Tegel Cage Free Farm Chicken and Free Range Eggs from Willow Creek Farm.