Pates and terrines originate from France, where it was a part of everyday diet and/or a speciality served dutiny extraordinary occassions. Terrines and pates were prepared from pork, veal, liver, poultry or fish, both raw and cooked.

Today, the term pate and terrine is only used in haute couisine. Many people consider the term "terrine" as "the good pate which is being sold from the stoneware bowl". The term "pate" is on the other hand considered as any finely ground mixture mainly from liver and meat.