My first memories of paté was when my parents and I were on a vacation in France. We drove around Bretagne and Normandie and were accompanied by my cousins. Or maybe it was the other way around. My uncle and aunt knew french and my parents didn’t so to say that we accompanied them would probably be more accurate.
Anyway… That summer the world cup in football/soccer was held in Spain (Who doesn’t remember the orange mascot?) and in every restaurant where we stopped for lunch they had a TV on with the games. All the kids were like crazy, and our fathers as well. So many great football nations at once!
One day we went to a small french town. Sadly I can’t remember it’s name, but I sure remember the restaurant. It was lunch time and the table had a red and white checked table cloth, as all proper French bistros had, at least in my mind at that time. My parents have always encouraged me to try out new kind of food and this thime there was paté as a starter. I was sceptical…
But if you tried it you could get those cute small gherkins! I just had to have those! So I tried the paté.
It was love at first bite. I can vaguely remember Northern Ireland playing someone on the TV, but I suddenly ignored the TV my cousins were watching so intensly. I had paté! And gherkins with the strange name of cornichons. What more could a foodie boy ask for?
A couple of years later my family and I was at a dinner at my other uncle and aunt’s place in coutryside just outside Lund in the southern part of Sweden. My aunt had made a HUGE paté in a terracotta bowl and it rose high above the rim of the bowl. A beautiful paté! She served it with potatoes, sallad, sauce and - cornichons!
I cut a thick slice of paté and lifted it onto my plate only to discover that I forgot that not only was it a big part above the rim of the bowl. It was even bigger beneath the rim! I had just thought of the tip of the iceberg. The slice must have been at least 20 x 15 cm and 2 cm thick. That was quiet a large slice for a nine year old who had already filld the plate with potatoes and sallad and other goodies. But it was good! I ate and ate and ate. It was a long dinner and it took me a long time to finish. When I finally was done I was so full I felt nauseous. But it was worth it! Not only was it a really good paté, but I had also created family history - a story that can haunt me at family gatherings even to day (!).
Many years later, when my oldest son David was three, my wife were away for the evening and David’s little brother Adam, who was just one at the time, was asleep, we decided we would have a gourmet evening just he and I. A foodie boys’ evening. We brought out brie, pears, roquefort, crackers, a large glass of apple juice for him and a small glass of red wine for me, cornichons and of course - paté. Two kinds. It was a French countrystyle paté and a finer with green pepper.
We had a great evening together, trying out the food, talking, joking, reading stories and just enjoying the food and each others compnay. David left a few pieces of the patés for me, the rest ended up in him tummy. A paté loving son! It was indeed a great evening!
Last week I was with a couple of colleagues at a resturant in the Old Town of Stockholm called Djuret (The animal). They only serve one kind of animal at a time in respect for the animal and since they think it’s the most ecological way of serving meat at a restaurant.
That evening they served deer. My colleagues all went straight for the main courses and even if they sounded delicious my eyes were stuck on one of the starters - Paté made from the legs containing dried apricots, pistachios and hazelnuts, served with diced smoked pork, cornichons and a brioche fried in butter. With this they suggested an excellent tokajer wine. Fantastic!
I’ve had lots of paté during the years but not nearly as much as I would have liked. The cravings come and go in waves. But these are a few fond memories of a great dish with a special place in both my heart and belly.
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