In France, the “apéritif” is an institution for families and friends. On holidays, or during the weekend or after a long day at work, French people, always find a good excuse to have a French aperitif “prendre l’apéro” (literally “take the aperitif” which means to have a drink). Above all, it’s a convivial moment of sharing with various dishes and drinks to savour. We talk, we laugh, we relax, and the main purpose is to have a delightful time.
Whether in summer or winter, the “apéro” happens is at least once a week! The summer weather makes it pleasant to clink a glass on a terrace, at the beach or even on a sunny rooftop. During winter, apéros allow you to warm up by the fire, “pépère” quietly at home or in a trendy bar.
On the « apéro » road
According to a study, 66% of the French have an apéro at least once a month. Myself personally exceed this average. Each region owns its drink, its cru and a few dishes that can only be found locally. Even if the “unavoidable” potato chips, peanuts, saucisson and pistachios exist, there are culinary differences and different drinks according to each French region.
In Provence, pastis is a real institution. The “pastaga” (as we call it in the South of France) is in most Southern people’s cupboard under the name Ricard or 51. Flavoured with anise and liquorice, you have to mix it with water. For the wine amateur, the FrenChicTouch girls advise you to try a Bandol, a must have rosé during the summer apéro. Do not forget a good baguette to enjoy with some tapenade, an iconic provençale recipe made with black olives, capers, anchovies and garlic. Is your mouth watering? I haven’t finished yet !
On the “apéro” road, heading to the North-West, Brittany will you charm with its famous Chouchen. This alcohol-flavoured with honey and apple is the king of apéritifs together with its other faithful companion the kir, a mixture of crème de cassis and burgundy wine. Accompany it all with a little buckwheat pancake and your taste buds will only thank you. If your toddlers are also part of the party, a Breizh Cola will fill them with joy. Not far from our Breton friends, Normandy also has its monument of the aperitif – the pommel. This alcohol is a delicious combination of apple juice with cider and Calvados, a brandy from Normandy.
We could list many more apéritifs, however we will remain reasonable because we must not forget that alcohol should be enjoyed « in moderation ».
The cocktail « apéritif »
The classic French aperitif prepares your appetite before sitting at the dinner table. Nevertheless, it is possible to make the aperitif your only meal. It is then called a dinner aperitif. The concept remains the same except that we find more hearty dishes and more options on the table. Quiches, verrines, canapés (small toasts with toppings), cheese platters, pâtés, salads and so on, can be part of this the subject of this jovial concept.
The French aperitif alone is an encyclopaedia of recipes, customs and beverages to consume. If it is not yet time for you to dive into it stay patient, it’s always time for a drink somewhere in the world!.
English Correction: NHM Translation