An aperi.. what?!
Is usually what I get when I say “should we go for an aperitif?”
Even if the world is embracing more and more the aperitif culture its still an obscure word for many people les amis.
So let me share with you all about the aperitif and why it's a big part of French culture, and most importantly whats it’s so great!
“ L’aperitif, c’est la priere du soir des français”, Paul Morant French writer
L’aperitif is French people evening prayer. Its more than just a drinks, some food and friends get together, it's a way of life!
In France, we are know for our Joie de Vivre, our way of embracing life and taking the time to appreciate good things in life, that might be our 35hours a week or our month in summer by the sea. Enjoying our leisure time is engraved in our culture.
We are bon vivant, hedonist seeking for a good life.
The word aperitif comes from the latin word “aperire” which mean to open. In this case, to open the appetite, to get yourself ready for dinner, but also means the opening of the evening. The aperitif is that conduct from day to night. It's the opportunity to begin again regardles the day you’ve had. This the beautiful distinction between Happy Hour and the Aperitif.
Happy Hour is a celebration of the end of the day, a few drinks after work to finish up, but the aperitif is the beginning of the night, the first drink of the evening, that moment to savour before moving on to the dinner meal.
So really, an aperitif is a place, a time of the day, a category of food & drinks and a moment to share, not a celebration of something in particular, just an opportunity to get together with colleagues friends and family.
Aperitif // A Place
An Aperitif can be your favourite local bar or that lovely place next to you office. It can also be at home hosting a dinner for friends ( this is a big part of the French culture)!
However a warning, (and to clarify and avoid any awkward situations) if you ever get invited for an aperitif in France (or a French friends house) it does not mean you’re invited for dinner!
Aperitif // A Food
Nothing too big or too just crazy, just little canapés or an amuse bouche. It can be as simple as roasted peanuts, olives, meats & cheese spread to something more elaborate like roasted pepper, cheesy grilled figs, tapenade, mini soufflet, radishes and butter, artichoke, so many options!
A good place to start if you’re hosting is to go to the farmers market and see whats in season, that's the real French way.
Having a talented friend chef also help as you can see in the picture the delicious food from Anna Barnett to pair with my St-Germain Spritz. A match made in heaven!
Aperitif // Drinks
Light & bright to bring your palate back to life and ease you into the night. It can be as simple as a glass of wine, or a pint of beer, but for it to be a real aperitif, it must be cold, refreshing elegant and delicieux bien sur!
For cocktails a refreshing spritz with St-Germain like in the picture or a lighter martini (check out our Olivette recipe) are always good options.
Aperitif // With who?
With friends, family, colleagues or a romantic one with a lover, an aperitif très très enjoyable!
Aperitif // La Table
Dressing the table is also part of the ritual nice selection of glassware and crockery and seasonal dressing with floral arrangement. In this picture my dear friend Emily founder of June in March did an autumnal composition and as you can see c’est magnifique!
Aperitif // Bienvenue
Last but not least the host, hosting is a big part of the culture especially if you’re hosting the aperitif at home making sure everyone is looked after and enjoy themselves. You want your guests with a drink in their hand, some food in their belly and the conversation to be good!
Et voila les amis you’re now an expert in the art of the aperitif, time to raise your glass and say santé!