Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Apéritif – what to serve French friends or neighbours

When moving to France, I always suggest my English clients to invite their French neighbours for an aperitif to break the ice. They often like the idea but are always unsure about what to serve, what time to invite them, etc.

Drink-wise it is best to have a wide choice to cater for all tastes.

Living in Brittany, of course, we have to offer our guests a Kir Breton also called Kir Normand in Normandy. Add some Crème de cassis with cider (most ciders are made in Brittany or Normandy in France).

The ‘proper’ Kir is made of 1/3 Crème de cassis of Dijon of course (20 degrees!) and 2/3 of white wine (Bourgogne Aligoté). Nowadays the crème de cassis is often replaced by other liqueurs or sirops (peach, blackberry, etc).

Apart from cider, I always keep a bottle of Pastis for my French neighbours and a bottle of whisky, gin and a few beers.

Don’t forget soft drinks, as people might not drink alcohol! This is the basic drinks you should have available.

If you have something to celebrate, splash out and offer your guests some champagne!

Apéritif are traditionally served with a selection of appetizers like peanuts, olives, crisps. You can also prepare a few canapés and show your creativity! I like to bake Gougères, savory nibbles made of choux pastry.

Apéritifs, also called ‘apéros’, are served between 6.30pm and 8.30pm, it all depends on the occasion and who you invite for example your neigbours might not get home from work until 7pm. Most French people will have one or two drinks and go home so don’t worry, you won’t have to hold a conversation for hours! Having French people round will improve your French – alcohol helps too!

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