Patchwork Pate
Patchwork Pâté is an everyday indulgence. Here, it’s served on a corkwood cutting board from Photography by Claire Freierman.


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KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.



June 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Meat & Poultry

Patchwork Pâté

Flavorful Chicken Liver Pâté For Everyday & Company


CAPSULE REPORT: Patchwork Pâté is a successful Welsh country artisan product that has taken root in the U.S., where it is made carefully following the original recipes. The result: a delicious line of chicken liver-based pâtés with enough variety of flavorings to make every day a pâté day.

In 1982, Welsh housewife Margaret Carter found herself divorced with three children to look after. With no formal training, she attempted what many talented home cooks do: She made one of her special recipes to sell locally. With startup savings of just £9.00, she began selling her homemade pâtés to pubs in Llangollen, a town nestled in the beautiful Dee Valley in northeast Wales. Few Americans know Llangollen, but it is known as the Festival Capital of Wales (music, food, balloon and fringe festivals) and the horse-drawn boat ride on the Llangollen Canal is one of the oldest attractions in the country. The River Dee, which flows through town, is the most sacred Celtic River in Western Europe. According to Arthurian legend, the Fisher King, guardian of the Holy Grail, fished its deep flowing waters.

But the town may become known as the birthplace of Patchwork Pâté. What started in Patchwork Pate her kitchen, in a Victorian shooting lodge on a hillside, has become a thriving international specialty food business, selling in the U.S., Hong Kong and Japan. The £9.00 investment is now generating £2.2 million a year. Two of Margaret’s children, Marcus and Rufus Carter, now run the company. The kitchen has become a 10,000-square foot facility in North Wales; in the U.K., Patchwork Pâté also sells savory tarts, quiches and pies. The company has won numerous awards for its pâtés, terrines, savories and desserts, including Wales’ True Taste awards. Despite scaling up, everything is made the way Margaret originally cooked it, by hand in small batches.

Not every artisan food maker reaches such heights, but Americans are fortunate that, at the Fancy Food Show three years ago, Patchwork Pâté was discovered. Now the recipes are made in Pennsylvania and distributed nationwide. You can tell from the first bite that, as in the U.K., only the best ingredients are used, including lots of fresh herbs. The pâtés are made in small batches without preservatives or additives.



Pâté Flavors

Made with organic chicken livers, fresh onions, butter, fresh garlic, herbs, fresh-ground black pepper and sea salt; brandy, tequila, etc. are added to the individual recipes. What we like about this line is that you can taste the herbs in every bite. All except the last are made from chicken livers. The alcohols aren’t very differentiated. All leave a nice flavor of alcohol, but it would take an extremely discriminating palate to tell tequila from brandy.

  • Brandy And Herb Pâté. An excellent basic Pâté, like the mushroom and garlic (see next item) but with a good hit of brandy.
  • Mushroom And Garlic Pâté. Buy this one if you don’t want any alcohol flavor, just herb-infused pâté.
  • Tequila and Cranberry Pâté. This flavor is sweeter and more assertive than the Triple Sec and Orange, but otherwise, they’re similar. You’d think that the tequila and cranberry combination would be more tart than the sweeter triple sec and orange combination, but it isn’t.
  • Triple Sec and Orange Pâté. Per the prior comment, don’t worry about this one being too sweet.
  • Welsh Dragon’s Pâté. This one, made from venison liver and chipotle chiles, is different from the rest of the pack. It has a light fieriness, and a terra cotta color from the chile.
Pate Canapes
From top: Brandy & Herb Pâté garnished with a halved cornichon, Welsh Dragon’s Pâté garnished with a halved olive, and Mushroom & Garlic Pâté garnished with a slice of smoked pickled okra from Rick’s Picks.

There’s also a Bourbon Blueberry Pâté that we look forward to tasting.

As those who have made pâté know, this food is an Atkins Diet delight. Fresh livers are sautéed in butter, then blended with herbs and seasonings, plus liquors and other flavors. Given that fat is added to food to make it taste better, you can imagine how good these pâtés are. Smooth and spreadable, they can easily work their way into a daily diet (although the wise dieter will keep them for special occasions).

Serving Suggestions & Recipes

The pâtés are packed in utilitarian plastic containers, O.K. for personal snacking but not for putting in front of guests. Thus, we suggest serving them:

  • In A Bowl. Scoop the pâté into a serving bowl and decorate with sliced cornichons (French gherkins) or with a plume of rosemary, as we’ve done in the photo at the right.
  • As Individual Servings With Toast Points. Serve the pâté with toast points or toasted slices of baguette (some people enjoy crackers, but we prefer the softer bread and fewer crumbs). You can make an elegant quenelle of pâté by shaping it with two dessert spoons. Use one to take a spoonful of pâté from the container and the second spoon to remove the pâté from the first spoon. Repeat this back-and-forth transfer until the pâté is formed into the desired shape. Place on a plate with toast points and cornichons or other pickled vegetables (take a look at the variety from Tillen Farms, and McSweets pickled garlic and onions).
Pate In Bowl
  • With Salads. Make a large crouton—a toasted slice of bread from a French or Italian loaf, spread with pâté, and serve with the salad course.
  • In Tea Sandwiches. Make tea sandwiches with thin-sliced cucumber, microgreens or baby lettuce. Add smoked salmon, dill and a very thin slice of lemon for a more elaborate sandwich. You can make larger sandwiches too, of course: The pâtés go great on a chicken sandwich, or make a Beef Wellington sandwich by combining pâté and roast beef.
  • Chicken Wellington. You’ll need 4 boned chicken breasts, 3.5 ounces of chicken liver pâté, a stick of butter, a packet of filo pastry dough and 3.5 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil with 2 tablespoons butter in a sauté pan. Brown boned chicken breasts on both sides. Make a pocket in the chicken breasts and fill each with 2 tablespoons of the pâté. Melt 6 tablespoons butter. Cut 1 packet of filo pastry into 6-inch squares. Wrap each breast in two sheets of filo pastry, brush the edges with butter, draw up the edges and pinch together at the top. Add the sesame seeds to the remaining melted butter and brush over the top of the parcels. Bake in a pre-heated 350°F oven for 20 minutes.


The pâtés pair well with beer, wine or mineral water. What started as tavern food in Wales can be the hit of your next soirée.


Chicken Liver Pâté: Brandy and Herb, Mushroom and Garlic, Tequila and Cranberry, Triple Sec and Orange
Venison Pâté: Welsh Dragon


  • 8-Ounce Container

Purchase online* at

Also available at fine markets nationwide.


Patchwork Pate

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