For several years now, while dining in Ottawa, I have seen ‘Brome Lake Duck’ appearing in various menu selections, as pate, confit, or what have you … I have yet to try any of the offerings and had always vaguely assumed that Brome Lake was a lake somewhere in Ontario and that the ducks were wild ones hunted in the general area. As it turns out, the lake is in Quebec and the name, more properly ‘Canards du Lac Brome’, refers to an outfit that specializes in raising Pekin Duck (which is also known as ‘Peking Duck’, but doesn’t have any particular connection to the dish of the same name). Anyway, I have been seeing jars of the pate you see pictured above in my local store for some months now and I thought it time I gave it a try…
As you can see in the first picture, this product is made with orange ‘liquor’ (by which, I presume, they mean ‘liqueur’, possibly). Orange, of course, pairs well with duck and it certainly sounded pretty good. I couldn’t detect much of an aroma when I opened the jar, but possibly the light layer of fat on top was preventing this. The pate is fairly smooth, albeit not paste-like, as is the case with some varieties, and has a fairly nice, unctious mouth-feel. As for the taste, though, I would probably be a bit hard-pressed to identify the meat as duck without being told what it was. I then noted, from the ingredients label, the product also contains pork… Duck is listed first, followed by pork, followed by duck liver. It’s hard to say what the actual amounts of each are, but my taste experience tends to suggest that the pork content is quite high.
The orange taste did come through quite strongly… it was a bit like the pate had been infused with one of those marmalades that include a good amount of the orange rind and pith. It was slightly bitter, but not in a way that was unpleasant. After tasting the pate by itself, I served the rest on buttered rounds of grilled bread topped with just a little dab of a cranberry preserve. The latter was probably a bit of overkill, but it looked pretty and actually tasted pretty good.
In conclusion, though, I really think I could make a better duck pate myself… Unfortunately, it has been ages and ages since I have seen a duck round these parts.