So Frenchie, but less popular than the croissant, “pâté” is too often mistaken with “foie gras”, even though they have little in common. The latter is the entire duck liver. Half-cooked and cut in slices, it is served on toasts during end of year celebrations, as would be caviar.
Quite the contrary, “pâté” is a country style treat. Something to have on a picnic or as an entrée with a classic family meal. In all matters of opinion, a simple pleasure of life which comes in different types of specialities: with pork, rabbit, deer, wild boar which is minced with some liver and blended with herbs, bay leaves, nuts, dried fruits, truffles or other flavourful mushrooms, slowly cooked with wine or in Port in a terracotta pot.
I doubted I would find some in Australia. Then, I read a few lines about a chef who made it. So I called Kim de Poorter. He is a Belgian chef, born Korean, who was then brought up in France. “At the markets, I had this banner which said, Take home a taste of France. People open their eyes wide, but they are curious. Usually, children are the ones who first dare to taste it. Pâté is still a product Australians do not recognize, except for those who have travelled in France. Therefore, the product has to be presented. It works from word of mouth.”
On Kim’s menu, I noticed the very classic “pâté de Campagne”, a basic country pâté with green pepper. However, his two popular ones in Australia are the Cranberry type and the duck terrine with pistachios and apricots. In his professional kitchen, he also prepares different kinds of mousses and the so typical rillettes, which are spreadable thin strips of meat mixed with fat that melt so deliciously in your mouth that you had better forget for a moment the idea of a diet.
The story started when Kim de Poorter moved to Canberra from the South Coast, where he and his Australian-French wife managed his own restaurant “Le Grand Bleu” in Saint Georges Basin; he decided to be a father at home and an independent chef part-time, producing home-made pâtés.
In the end, after working and travelling around the world, in Cannes, Washington DC, Seoul and Sydney , it was a new challenge to cook French food with different products available locally. He had not only to convince the customer but also to struggle to find the provider who would supply him with the perfect meat with the right amount of fat. “I am still very tied to traditional French cuisine, which I want to defend: the beef tongue with a Madeira sauce my mother used to prepare, or a blanquette de veau. My kids aged 6 and 4 have loved that since the youngest age. We didn’t cook special baby food for them. They had the real stuff straight away!”
You can order from Kim: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02 6166 1502
Farmers Market EPIC in Canberra (at the crepes’ stall in front of the coffee shop) http://www.capitalregionfarmersmarket.com.au
Fruitatious, in Manuka. Canberra. Mount Majura wineries.