Creating a Pâté Board In 5 Easy Steps

Pâté is a traditionally decadent food, ideal for the season’s celebrations of food and family. A well-crafted pâté board will please even the pickiest of eaters by allowing your guests to customize their selection. Best of all, it’s easy to set up.

Here’s how to make a crowd-pleasing pâté board just five easy steps:

1. Choose Your Pâtés

Your pâtés will be the star of your board, and everything else should work in harmony to enhance the rich flavors.

We suggest offering a selection of pâtés that showcase a variety of flavor profiles and textures.

For instance, a country-style pâté has a coarse texture, with herb-infused, gamey flavors that can be cut into cubes and served with toothpicks. Our Chicken and Veal Pâté is encrusted with mustard seeds and pairs nicely with mustards, dried fruits, and nuts. Our Campagne Pâté is our most versatile country-style pâté and pairs with almost anything, including mustards, pickles, and chutneys.

Our Duck Rillette, however, has a more shredded texture, and a special seasoning blend that pairs well with smoked cheeses, or as an indulgent, standalone bite.

Our mousses offer a lighter, creamier consistency that is easy to spread, and perfect for pairing with condiments, fresh fruits and vegetables, and cheeses. The Spiced Apple Mousse is a seasonal favorite, with hints of apple brandy and apple pie spices.

And if your family has vegetarian, vegan or diet-conscious diners, our tempting vegetable and vegan terrines are a great way to round out the selection. Even your most carnivorous guests will appreciate the refreshing vegetable medleys that come to play in our terrines.

2. Choose Your Cheese

When you offer a variety of pâté, you also need a variety of cheeses. One of the most exciting parts of a pâté board is allowing your guests to experiment with different combinations. We suggest choosing cheeses from different categories, such as:

? Smoked cheeses, such as smoked provolone, gouda and gruyere. The smoky, nutty taste pairs well with our pâté, complementing each other without losing their nuance.

? Sharp cheeses, like cheddar. The sharp, salty flavors cut through the gaminess of our country-style pâtés to provide a delightful contrast of flavors.

? Soft cheeses like brie or chevre. These cheeses add a creamy component to our pâtés, terrines and mousses.

If your pâté board is your main appetizer, you’ll want about three to four ounces of cheese per person. If it’s just one of many in your pre-meal line-up, shop for about two ounces per person.

3. Choose Your Accompaniments

Hard and cured meats such as salami and prosciutto have bold flavors that provide a contrast to the richness of pâtés. They also work as standalone flavors for pairing with cheeses.

You’ll also want a sweet component to balance many of the salty and prominent flavors on the board. Seasonal fruits, such as figs, pears and apples are a classic way to add balance, and a drizzle of honey enhances the savory flavors of pâtés and cheeses.

Nuts add texture and provide a palette-cleansing effect, which is important when you’re hosting an array of flavors. For a seasonal touch, roast walnuts or chestnuts. The aroma is mouth-watering!

4. Choose Your Breads

With all of this creamy, cheesy, savory goodness in front of them, your guests will be looking for a vehicle to get it from the board to their mouths. Supply your guests with a mixture of different breads, crackers and breadsticks for a range of texture options.

5. Choose Your Settings

Last, but certainly not least, are the details. If you’re crafting an elaborate pâté board, you’ll need plenty of room. You want to make sure that your board is not over-crowded, for both aesthetic and logistical purposes.

It’s helpful to guests if you label each item, so they know what to expect and how to pair their samplings. In order to keep things moving quickly, be sure that each item can easily be served. For soft foods, make sure there is an appropriate utensil (either for spreading or scooping). For hard foods or meats, make sure they’re cut into individual sizes servings, and that there are either toothpicks or serving forks readily available.

An Epicurean Picnic Checklist

Epicurean food consists of luxurious — and yes, even sensual — bites. An Epicurean picnic is all about having fun, getting fancy, and leaving the cheese doodles at home (we promise you won’t miss them).

When it comes to Epicurean picnic foods, your options are nearly endless. That said, the most important thing to keep in mind during an epicurean picnic is to be as lavish as possible. Here, we highlight a few suggestions that will steer you in the right direction. 

5 Cucumber Bite Recipes

Cucumber bites: the perfect healthy snack with plenty of crunch.

As savory as they are fulfilling, there are tons of different recipes for cucumber bites (because like pâté, they can pretty much go with everything). These bites of deliciousness are portable for picnics, easily shareable for group gatherings, and the coolness of the cucumber is particularly refreshing in warm weather.

The best part about cucumber bites? They’re incredibly easy to make! Check out our five favorite recipes below.

Shrimp Cucumber Bites

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Classic Dilly Cucumber Bites

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Prosciutto Cheese Cucumber Bites with Prosciutto

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Cucumber Bites

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Tomato Basil Cucumber Bites

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Mother’s Day With Alexian Pâté

While you’re familiar with our delicious pâté, you may not realize that Alexian Pâté is owned and operated by Laurie and Alexandra, who are mother and daughter. In honor of Mother’s Day, we interviewed them about their experiences running award-winning, women-owned business together.

What’s your favorite part about running a business with your mother/daughter?

Laurie: I get to be with my daughter every day!  And it’s wonderful to execute and plan with someone who is so vested in the business.

Alexandra: I agree! Working together means we always have something to talk about. We can always bounce ideas off of one another, work through plans for improvement, and, most importantly, we are ableto share in our successes together. 

What are some challenges you face?

Laurie: Alexandra really wants my big office (laughs). On a serious note, her high energy level makes me aware of my inevitable ageing. We do disagree with each other occasionally, but not often. Disagreements are usually resolved after taking the time to recognize each other’s knowledge and experience.  For example, she might defer to my many years of experience in growing and running a manufacturing business, but I will usually defer to her in matters of technology, communications, and giving enough time to fully examine an issue.

Alexandra: Yes, I’m after that big office of hers! (laughs)

Even though we are mother/daughter, our brains operate differently, so sometimes there are different approaches to things and we may not agree always.  Despite those differences, we do complement each other and we are usually able to come to the fairest and best solution.

At family gatherings, we find ourselves diving into work conversations because we are both so passionate about what we do. Finding the balance between work and personal/family time can be a challenge. 

What advice would you have for other mothers and daughters looking to run a business together?

Laurie: 

  1. Clarify the goals and aspirations of both mother and daughter.
  2. Be prepared to disagree and have a method for resolution, if needed. 
  3. Understand and appreciate the talents and experience that each brings to the mission.
    Alexandra:
    In addition to that:
  4. Get yourselves into professional peer organizations. You’ll often find other professionals in your position and they can give great feedback, advice, and support.
  5. Embrace each other’s strengths and differences, and realize that the way they may approach a challenge or situation may be different than yours. Just because there are different approaches doesn’t mean that either is wrong. 
  6. Make a plan to separate your business relationship from your family relationship.

What is your favorite “quality” about your mom/daughter? 

Laurie: It’s definitely her attention to and patience with detail in any and all forms.

Alexandra: Her vast knowledge of business and our industry.  She is very business-minded and has creative ways of thinking about things and approaching challenges.  

How do you think Alexian Pâté reflects your relationship?

 Laurie: It is a very happy and fun brand that never forgets what made it great:  Attention to quality, food safety, and consideration for its employees.

Alexandra: Laurie and I may be family by genes, but we consider our team here to be like family too. A big part of Alexian’s success can be attributed to our team of loyal employees and the care they put into the products that we make.  For decades, we have prided ourselves on making a top-quality product and we can’t make that without a top-quality team! 

Crunchidee-Crunch! Our Favorite Crunchy Foods to Add to Pâté

While not a flavor and in direct defiance of science, food that crunches simply tastes better than food that doesn’t. Combined with our delicious pâté, crunchy foods become out of this world.

With so many crunchy treats to choose from (and because you can’t go wrong with smearing anything crunchy with pâté), we’ve compiled a handy list in no particular order.

Alexian Pâté is the perfect combination food, and when it comes to the crunch, you can get even more creative than our above list. While you’d have to classify this under an experimental suggestion, you can even try everything from thick-cut bacon to apples. The possibilities really are endless.

A Match Made in Heaven: Perfect Pâté Pairings

It’s easy to fall in love with pâté! So rich in flavor, it is enough to send anyone’s taste buds into euphoria. Now consider that there are foods which, when coupled with pâté, make for a beautiful pairing.

Below, we have assembled a list of easy ingredients to pair with pâté to help you further enjoy your favorite snacks or appetizers.

Toast thick slices of baguette on a grill and add a generous portion of Alexian Duck Rillette –perfect for an appetizer or afternoon bite.

Our Goose Liver Mousse, made with Port Wine, serves as an excellent complement to a glass of fortified wine. If fortified wine isn’t available, red wine with earthy flavors (think Bordeaux or Cabernet) are excellent alternatives.

Alexian Mushroom Artichoke Pâté features artichoke hearts nestled in a delightful mushroom mousse. Make a skewer with this and pieces of cheese.

Make open-faced sandwiches on sliced bread with our Campagne Pâté.

Our Eggplant and Goat Cheese Pâté can be served between sliced cucumbers for a unique and refreshing pairing.

Alexian Grand Marnier Pâté makes for the perfect toothpick appetizer! Simply cube the pâté and spear it with a toothpick with small clementine or orange wedges for hors d’oeuvres.

Easy 20 minute Recipes for 2020

When you want something delicious but don’t have the time or energy to prepare anything too extravagant, reach for Alexian pâté to add richness and depth to last-minute meals. Here are some easy ideas the next time you don’t know what to make.

A guilt-free grilled cheese? No, it’s not too good to be true. Our Eggplant & Goat Cheese Pâté makes an incredible base for a delightful sandwich. Take a scoop of Alexian Eggplant & Goat Cheese pâté and spread it on your choice of bread. Add in crumbled goat cheese, sliced deli turkey, and roasted red peppers and top with another piece of bread. Grill on the stove until bread is golden.

Who doesn’t love a baked fontina? You can never go wrong with a big, melty skillet full of cheese. Especially when you add in Alexian pâté. Layer cubed fontina cheese and Alexian Black Peppercorn Mousse in a cast-iron skillet or baking dish, top with sliced garlic, thyme leaves, and olive oil. Broil until it’s melted and bubbly enough to scoop up. Serve with toasty, flaky bread.

Puff pastry bites are always a good idea. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as biting into a warm, melt-in-your-mouth roll full of savory goodness. Gently wrap thin slices of any of our pâtés (though a couple of our favorites for this recipe are the Chicken & Veal and Forest Mushroom pâtés) in puff pastry and cook until light golden brown. You can also use crescent roll dough in place of puff pastry to save a little time. Feel free to experiment with your own add-ins – like your favorite smoked cheese – just don’t overload them!

Holiday Dinner Party Tips from Alexian

Many of us celebrate the holidays by hosting a dinner party with friends and family. The idea is to spend quality time with our loved ones, but hosting can sometimes be overwhelming. To minimize stress and enjoy the gathering, preparation ahead of time is key.

Planning the menu the week prior to the event will allow more time for procuring everything on your shopping list. Purchase as many items as you can the week prior, as this will help to avoid the crowds and to ensure that you are able to purchase everything on your list. Once you have your menu confirmed, make a preparation schedule and plan for the day of the event. If trying any new recipes for the occasion, do a test run ahead of time to ensure the recipe is one you are comfortable serving to your guests.

Cooking a large dinner often requires a lot of ingredients. Bring out your inner chef by using the “mise en place” method of preparation. “Mise en place” is a french cooking term which refers to having all of your ingredients prepared ahead of time before starting to cook. Wash, peel, chop, dice, and measure your ingredients prior to cooking to make preparation quicker and more efficient. One of the biggest challenges with hosting gatherings is the limited amount of space in the refrigerator and in the oven or stove. Using square and rectangular dishes will allow you to fit more in the oven and allow for easier and more effective stacking in the refrigerator. To make more room for food, chill beverages in a cooler or tub with ice. Also consider removing any unneeded items, like condiments or other jarred items, and store them in a cooler elsewhere.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and stress-free holiday season with your friends and family. Cheers from all of us at Alexian!

Unexpected Cracker Appetizer Ideas

Get creative with your cracker toppings! Add a different, yet sophisticated touch to your appetizers with Alexian Specialty Crackers and a little bit of imagination.

You can assemble these cracker bites quickly, with ingredients you may already have on hand.

Prosciutto, arugula and a drizzle of honey make the perfect sweet and savory cracker pairing.

Smashed avocado with crispy bacon is a match made in heaven. Smash the avocado and spread on a cracker. Top with bits of crispy bacon.

Top a cracker with a little horseradish spread, crumbled blue cheese, and thinly sliced Beef Eye Round or roast beef.

Spread onto your cracker a thick layer of hummus and add thin slices of cucumber, and then sprinkle with sesame seeds and paprika.

For a taste of autumn, top a cracker with thinly sliced turkey, creamy Brie cheese, and crispy slices of apple.

Lastly, add flair to your classic cheese-on-crackers appetizer by adding fresh slices of pears or apples, or top your cheese with a sweet marmalade. Sharp cheddar cheese with apricot or orange marmalade, or spicy plum chutney are our favorite suggestions.

Mousse vs Coarse Cut Pâté: what’s the difference?

Mousse vs Course Cut Pâté: what's the difference?

The word “Pâté” is a French word meaning “paste or spread” and is generally used to describe a cracker or bread accompaniment that is a baked mixture of ground pork, game or poultry meats and liver to which herbs, spices, and a wine, brandy or liquor are added. It has been made for centuries throughout central and northern Europe and is a staple of those cuisines today.

The pâté evolved as an economical and flavorful way to use all parts of the farm animal. It was the French who are credited with introducing more complex flavors and the classic country style pâtés such as the Pâté de Campagne, made of pork, onion, garlic, parsley and thyme. Pâté is produced in a loaf form and can be pre-sliced and vacuum packaged, sliced to order, or packaged in a small terrine. The “country style” or “coarse cut” genre is typically served as a slice or it is sliced and cubed and served with toothpicks.

The word “Mousse” is also a French word that refers to a sweet or savory spread that is finely ground, creamy, yet spreadable and of a whipped-like consistency. Unlike the coarse cut, it is always spread on bread or a cracker, or it is an ingredient that is spooned into another recipe. Both coarse cut and mousse pâtés can be found made of pork, chicken, duck, goose, and other ingredients. Alexian’s award winning Duck Liver Mousse with Cognac is our most popular mousse, followed by its runner up, the Truffle Mousse which is made with pork fat, turkey and chicken liver, truffles and generous helping of sherry.

While still in the charcuterie family but not quite classified as pâté, the French word “Rillette” typically describes pork or duck meat that is slow cooked in its own fat with a subtle blend of spices, so as to create a pulled, fall-apart, shredded texture.

It is spread on bread or crackers and is also used to make or enhance the flavor of other foods such as in a filling for pasta or a topping on a baked potato, for example.

It should also be kept in mind, that the liver in a pâté or mousse is not foie gras unless it is specifically described as foie gras. The term foie gras refers to the liver of a goose or duck that has been purposely fattened to achieve a desired level of richness and texture. Alexian does not use any foie gras.

Alternatively, Alexian’s vegetable and vegan pâtés are vegetable-based alternatives. They can be country style, or spreadable depending upon how they are made. They are a lighter alternative and more colorful than their meat-based counterparts, which makes them a great addition to your charcuterie board. We recommend Alexian Vegetable Pâté, Eggplant with Goat Cheese, and Mushroom Artichoke, which can be sliced to serve and enjoyed with a fork!