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Scandia Bucegi (vegetarian pate)

Description. Vegetarian pâté seldom works. It cannot. Pâté is by definition a spreadable meat, one that can hold a clever shape thanks to said meat’s natural fats. The vegetable version can scarcely call itself a “substitute,” forced as it is to shore up its flavorless and soupy presentation with large infusions of sodium, guar gum, and gelatin.

Perfectly serviceable red-pepper terrines, shiitake whips, and the like do exist, and partner productively with a pita wedge, but using the word “pâté” creates an expectation of richly fatty, rounded flavor and texture that no soy-proximation can replicate.

Scandia’s version is no exception. One could spin the can’s Soviet presentation as a deliberate decision not to overpromise Onassistine luxury, but the label is no-nonsense and efficient in its instructions for consumption. “To be preferably consumed till [sic] end of year inscribed on the lid” (here, 2013). “It is recommended to be consumed cold, a maximum 24 hours from opening the can.”

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