Pâté, rillette, and terrine are all named after their ingredients: duck fat, wine, and herbs. But the names also reflect their unique properties.
Pâté is a savory cut of meat that typically contains lard (vegetable or animal fat) or suet (beef tallow). It’s made by slow-cooking duck fat with herbs and spices. This results in a smooth paste that can be sliced and served as a main course.
Rillette is a charcuterie dish that originated in Indre-et-Loire, but today it is prepared and consumed all over the world. It’s made from choux (mold) dough filled with onions and spices; this results in a rich and slightly sweet paste with a texture like pâté.
Terrine is a French word meaning “package” or “box”: it refers to layers of meat with vegetables or other types of food. They are usually served cold but can also be warm as an antipasto appetizer before meals.
Think of pâté as the base and rillette as the filling. Terrine is like a solid example of the top. In this article, we’ll explain the differences between Pâté, Rillette, and Terrine so you know which one to order at your next dinner party.
Pâté, Rillette, and Terrine: The key difference
Pâté, rillette, and terrine all can contain animal fat, like duck or pig, which is the base for everything. The fat is important because it gives the ingredients flavor and texture. Many people who make pâté, rillette, and terrine forget that the base is fat.
There are many ways to reduce the fat in pâté, rillette and terrine. You can decrease the amount of animal fat used, use healthier fats such as olive oil or ghee, or incorporate vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, or cucumbers in recipes. And now, thanks to gastronomic innovations, you can also find quality products with a lower percentage of fat, and buy duck rillettes, which are healthier and more sustainable than traditional ones.
Pâté, rillette, and terrine
If you make pâté, rillette, and terrine for a party, you can increase the amount of ingredients to make more servings. When you make pâté, rillette, and terrine for individual consumption, you should plan on making enough to last you a month. That is what we recommend – although you can make more servings if you want to give them to friends.
Keep in mind that there are different types of pâté: dry, sweet, smoked, and chou. Each type has different serving sizes and benefits. For sweet pâté, make sure the product contains sugar, and for smoked pâté, use a sweet type and add salt and pepper to taste.
Pâté vs. Rillette vs. Terrine: Which one should you choose?
There is a lot of people who thinks there is not a difference between Pâté and Rillette, and they are wrong. The differences between the three of them lie in the ingredients used and the method of preparation. For example, in pâté, duck fat is the base; in rillette, it can be enriched with cream, cheese, or spices, and in terrine, it’s formed into a solid and then fried.
Regardless of the type, all of them are made with duck products. And there is one aspect of pâté that sets it apart from the other two: fat content.