Insight: Eat and Drink Like the French

#food #eat #drink #French

“Do not even think about eating lunch at your desk” — Paul Ebeling

France is a favorite destination for me, there I learned about the country’s food and beverage traditions. There is a je ne sais quoi to the celebrated French art of eating and drinking with guidelines or unofficial rules to eating and drinking like the French.

The following is a practical list of French customs that will bring you a little joie de vivre, wherever you are, as follows:

When finishing a meal, the French end on a high note with a dessert, digestif, and/or simple coffee. For lighter lunches, a small cookie or piece of chocolate with an espresso will do the trick, though for dinner, we recommend indulging a bit heavier on the dessert with a splash of something strong.

It is common to order cheese boards while snacking, during meal time, and cheese always comes after the main course, not before. In the US, people tend to snack on dairy before the big meal, though the French prefer to indulge in a simple serving after the main course is served, with dessert to follow.

The lunch: Lunch breaks are non-negotiable and not a 10, 20, or 30 min break, do not think about taking one at your desk. Bistros, restaurants, and cafés packed with in-person diners during weekday afternoon hours. The French have long viewed mealtimes as sacred. No matter what the day holds, there’s always time for a meal. 

Forget skim milk and fat-free cheese. Although these items do exist in French supermarkets, but hard to come by. Rather than limiting and restricting, the French welcome indulging in life’s simple pleasures: meats, cheeses, and all of the sweets in moderation.

The French love coffee. The enjoy short pulls of espresso aka café all day long. For a longer pull of espresso or something more similar to an American-style coffee order a café allongé. An espresso with a bit of foamed milk is 1 of France’s greatest treasures.

Eating like the French requires us slow down. The French live by the notion that food, family, and friends are all meant to be savored, and mealtimes are what bring all three of these things together. This is the Key reason why you will have to ask for your check in France, rather than the server dropping it off upon seeing cleared plates. Take your time, then politely ask for the check when ready to leave. 

Dinner parties and at-home apéritifs, referred to colloquially as apéro, are staples in French culture, and rule is never to arrive empty handed. Bring a bottle of wine and a small snack like salty olives. Should you have the time to prepare something homemade, even better.

Clinking glasses before taking the 1st sip is customary around the world, though the French follow a few extra rules. Not only is it mandatory to cheers with everyone at the table, it’s also imperative to make direct eye contact with the person you are raising a glass with, and to never cross arms with another person cheersing simultaneously.

This tradition is generally meant for children, but many adults also partake in this simple delight. In short, when late afternoon hunger strikes, children generally receive a juice and something sweet to nibble on. For adults, the goûter can consist of a coffee and small cookie, pastry, or on warmer days, even a scoop of ice cream. For extra thirsty adults start with a coffee, let the snacks come, and seamlessly allow the caffeine to be replaced with wine as the 5p mark comes around.

Note: The Secret is eat real food!

Italians take eating and drinking seriously too, so stay tuned…

Manger sainement, être en bonne santé, vivre vivant

#drink#eat#food#french