Best of Artisanal LA: Pork Rillette & Compound Butter at Villebois Kitchen
Mae Reyes and Frederique Alberti bill themselves simply: as two moms who want to share their love of cooking. But their handmade pâtés, rillettes, compound butters and quiches, sold under the Villebois Kitchen label, suggest otherwise. Attention to detail and respect for traditional foodways would put them at home among polished chefs.
Alberti, born and raised in Villebois, France, grew up eating all manner of meat pastes and terrines. "Both of my grandmothers were very good cooks," she says, and from them, she learned traditional recipes like the chicken liver pâté and the pork rillettes she makes for Villebois. Unsure of Americans' receptivity to pâtés, she says, "I was amazed. I didn't think chicken liver would do well here, but it has."
The other half of the Villebois menu -- flavored butters and flaky quiches -- is made by Reyes, who grew up in the Philippines and throughout Southeast Asia. Her port wine and fig butter is a knockout. (I can see why it's the most popular of Villebois' butters.) Made with air-dried figs and imported port, it has a nutty depth and a hint of sweetness that would complement sweet or savory dishes. Or you could just slather it all over toast, like some of us do with pork rillette.