Le Banneton, in addition to making pastries and sandwiches, also makes several types of pate. The kind of pate which really caught my eye was the crocodile pate. Yes, I know I’ve mentioned several times before that I really don’t like pate, but there are some instances when you have to set your preferences aside in the interest of food exploration, and I felt like this was one of those instances.
To be completely fair, I think it’s mostly the concept of pate that I don’t like. Spreadable meat from a jar that keeps for basically forever? That’s, like, just one step away from Spam, but somehow it’s classy and refined. It’s also the fact that I really don’t like liver. My parents owned a meat packing plant when I was young, so I grew up working there, and I’ve handled more than my fair share of liver in my lifetime and, imo, it just has the WORST texture of all meat. It’s spongy and it’s very bloody. And it’s slippery. Who wants to eat an extremely bloody, slippery sponge? Oh yeah, and then there’s the fact that I am a flexitarian, and as someone who’s PRACtically a vegetarian, foie gras is maybe one of the worst choices to make if you’re going to go on eating meat. I mean, it’s not just liver; it’s artificially fat liver.
The crocodile pate is made with crocodile meat and duck liver, and it’s seasoned with galangal and pink pepper. If that is not the epitome of foodie gourmet, I don’t know what is. (No, seriously, I challenge you to name something more outlandishly foodie than crocodile and duck pate with galangal and pink pepper.) I also bought a baguette from Le Banneton and sat at one of the outside tables there and ate my pate right there. And you know what? It wasn’t too bad.
I have actually eaten crocodile once before at a restaurant in Victoria B.C., and that time, I thought it tasted a bit like chicken. Again, this time around, if someone had told me that there was chicken in that jar instead of crocodile, I would have believed them. I tried pretty hard to imagine there was only crocodile in the jar. I tried sosososo hard to forget there was also duck liver in there. I think I did a pretty good job of forgetting about it for the period of time that the stuff was in my mouth. As far as the seasonings, I didn’t taste much of the galangal, but I did taste plenty of the pink pepper, which was alright with me as it helped me further forget about the duck liver.*
All in all, if you are a person who actually likes foie gras, I’d say this one was pretty good. Even if you don’t like foie gras, this is a great novelty item, and the price was more than right. At 27,000 kip (about 3.40 USD) per jar, it’s certainly not going to break the bank. I bought one for me to try, plus three more jars to send to my parents and to my two brothers as a cute little gift from Vientiane. I mean, just check out how adorbs the jars are!
*Just for fun pepper fact that I’m pretty sure I’m not making up: way way way back when, pepper was originally used as a seasoning to mask the horrible taste of the rotten food that people used to have to eat in olden times. If you read the Annotated Alice, I’m pretty sure you’ll come across an annotation that tells you that is the real reason the scary cook lady is going nuts putting tons of pepper in the food she’s making.