What Is the Difference Between Pate and Terrine?

difference-between-pate-terrine Credit: John Carey/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Pates and terrines are similar, but pate is smooth and terrines tend to be chunky. Both pates and terrines are charcuterie, a French branch of cooking devoted to meat preparation.

Pates and terrines are both a form of charcuterie, a way to cook and preserve meat prior to the development of the refrigerator in France. Chefs continue to use the method because of the rich flavors produced by the preservation process. Charcuterie includes a number of other meats in addition to pate and terrine, such as confit and galantine.

Charcuterie production typically involves forcemeats, which are ground lean meats emulsified with fat. Forcemeats are made from various meats, including

  • Pork and pork liver
  • Seafood and fish
  • Game meat and game birds
  • Veal
  • Poultry

Pork fatback is often used in the emulsifying process because of its neutral flavor. In the United States, four different types of forcemeats are used: Straight, country-style, gratin and mousseline. The differences in the forcemeats relate specifically to the portions of emulsifier and the process by which the forcemeat is created.

Pate is a smooth form of charcuterie that is cooked inside a pastry in a dish called a terrine. However, a terrine is a different type of charcuterie that are chunky and baked in a terrine dish. Terrines are best prepared in high-volume restaurants because they are not easily made in small, preservable portions.