Ternary eutectics, where three phases form simultaneously from the melt, present an opportunity to study the fundamental science of microstructural pattern formation during the process of solidification. In this paper we investigate these phenomena, both experimentally and by phase-field simulations. The aim is to develop necessary characterisation tools which can be applied to both experimentally determined and simulated microstructures for a quantitative comparison between simulations and experiments. In SEM images of experimental cross sections of directionally solidified Ag-Al-Cu ternary eutectic alloy at least six different types of microstructures are observed. Corresponding 3D phase-field simulations for different solidification conditions and compositions allow us to span and isolate the material parameters which influence the formation of three-phase patterns. Both experimental and simulated microstructures were analysed regarding interface lengths, triple points and number of neighbours. As a result of this integrated experimental and computational effort we conclude that neighbourhood relationships as described herein, tu ... mehrrn out to be an appropriate basis to characterise order in patterns.