What do you most like about the French way of life? Is it the morning’s trip to fetch freshly baked bread? Perhaps it’s a visit to the weekly market to stock up on local delicacies and see some friendly faces. Or maybe, like many, it’s l’heure de l’apéro: apéritif hour. In English, the word is usually used to denote the drink itself, enjoyed before dinner; in France, it means so much more.
What is an apéritif?
It’s a drink, of course, and usually an alcoholic one such as a glass of wine or champagne; perhaps a kir – white wine (usually Muscadet) with a drop of crème de cassis, or pastis, an anise flavoured spirit. But in France, apéro is also a special moment in the day. It’s a time to unwind, and to share stories from the day with your friends or family. It’s an occasion where conviviality and gastronomy come together, as you relax together and prepare your palate for what’s to come.
Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for this “hour” to turn into dinner itself – a phenomenon known as l’apéritif dinatoire. Since there is little in life more enjoyable than a dinner made up of delicious, artisanal French finger food, apéro can easily transform into a whole evening of nibbles. But what should you serve?
Ways to create the perfect apéro
Mouth-watering nibbles such as olives naturally pair well with a wine-based drink, but when it comes to finger foods, you can let your imagination run wild. Luckily, BonneBouffe has plenty of ideas when it comes to choosing French food online to help you get started.
Begin by thinking about your individual tastes, and those of your guests. For those who love the salty, unique texture of cured meat, a charcuterie board filled with French varieties of saucisson is bound to go down well. There are diverse options here, and opportunities to focus on different regions or French traditions.
The traditionally wild boar saucisson (sanglier) brings a real richness to the table, and is bound to appeal to lovers of game. For those who prefer Mediterranean aromas, try this Provençal speciality. And for some real punch, saucisson paired with the renowned Espelette from the Basque region is guaranteed to set those tastebuds alight! You might like to offer guests something sweet to pair with the saltiness of the saucisson, such as a compote.
What else goes down well? Apéro doesn’t have to be limited by convention, and anything that you can eat with your fingers works, in our opinion. Our savoury biscuits which come in a diverse range of flavours, allow your guests to taste the flavours of Basque country! Pâtés and cheeses, the real heroes of the French table, come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and flavours; a mellow Brie or a tangy goat’s cheese both merit a place at the apéro dinatoire table, and both can be enhanced with a drizzle of French lavender honey.