Pâté de Contades is a classic type of pâté, dating from the late 1700s.
It’s a round pâté, with whole foie gras covered with a layer of finely minced veal and lard, then wrapped in pastry and baked. Once cooked, in the days before refrigeration, the layer of lard and pastry would have had the side benefit of helping to preserve the foie gras for a short while — a few days in the summer, and possibly up to a couple of weeks in the winter.
It’s best made in a springform pâté pan.
This pâté wouldn’t technically be thought of as a pâté today, as the livers are cooked whole, not minced into a paste.
The creation of Pâté de Contades is attributed to a cook named Jean-Pierre Clause, though it’s more likely that he just fancied up a standard country-folk recipe from his native Lorraine or from Alsace where he was working at the time. He called it “Pâté à la Contades”, in honour of his employer. It was first sold to the public in 1784 from a shop in Strasbourg that Clause and his wife owned. See the biography of Jean-Pierre Clause for more information.