Pâté Letelier makes it onto Kate Thornberry's grocery list
Reviewed by Kate Thornberry, Fri., Nov. 2, 2012
Pâté LetelierDowntown, Sunset Valley, Cedar Park, and HOPE farmers' markets
I thought I wasn't a big pâté fan. Oh, once in a while I would eat a little, if that was what was being served. But it certainly never made it onto my grocery list. Until – that's right – I tried Austin's own locally made Pâté Letelier. These pâtés are so outstanding, not a week goes by that I don't buy one in their array of varieties. Made with pastured and wild meats, local honey, organic herbs, vegetables, and fruits, the flavors are irresistible. Most importantly, not all of Letelier's pâtés contain liver; in fact, several are vegetarian, such as the mushroom pâté, which is made with mushrooms, butter, shallots, onion, garlic, olive oil, Port wine and thyme. It is heavenly – earthy and rich – a perfect complement to fresh bread and cheese. The white bean pâté is also vegetarian: a paste of cannellini beans roasted with garlic, lemon juice, basil, parsley, and olive oil. The pâté campagne is a French country-style pate, chopped rather than puréed, made with bacon, shallots, pork, garlic, hard-boiled eggs, brandy, pistachios, and allspice – hearty yet delectable, it's perfect on a sandwich. The salmon pâté is made with wild-caught smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, fresh dill, and lemon. The pâté maison, a creamy blend of Dewberry Hills chicken livers, butter, onions, honey, apples, Hill Country lavender, and rosemary, is so delightful it made a convert of even a liverphobe like me.
Jackie Letelier, the company owner and maker of the pâtés, was born in South Texas but spent her teenage years on a family farm in Chile, where she learned the pâté-making art from her Aunt Cecilia. "Pâté is a really normal thing to eat in South America, a staple, really!" Letelier explains, "My Aunt Cecilia was an amazing cook. She had been a figure in the culinary world in Brazil before she returned to Chile. But she never stopped making her pâtés." Two years ago, Jackie started Pâté Letelier here in Austin, taking advantage of seasonal availabilities to make a varying menu of spreads. This week, Letelier will be adding a seasonal bison liver pâté, made with figs, maple syrup, and thyme. During the holidays, an antelope pâté will be available, made with Broken Arrow wild-caught antelope, citrus, cherries, and sage: "the flavors that remind me of Christmas," says Letelier. She also plans to sell half-pound portions of the mushroom pâté and the pâté maison in "giftable" ceramic containers for $10 leading up to the holidays. Otherwise, all the pâtés are $7 for a six-ounce container.