Eating is one of the great pleasures in life. Of course, we tend to think that there are only three meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Beyond that, at least in the United States, in recent years brunch has become especially popular, that particular meal between breakfast and
These new spaces dedicated to eating or having a drink outside the main meals have a place quite ingrained in many cultures in the world, (That tea time in the United Kingdom, for example) But have you heard of the french apéro?
The term apéro comes from aperitif and is widely practiced in France with a social connotation. The idea of l’apéro is to have the opportunity to start a casual conversation and perhaps meet people in your work or residence circle, as well as your family and closest friends.
L'apéro can happen either just before lunch (11:30) or before dinner (19:00) This tells us that it is not a heavy meal and that its purpose is to share a bite and some drinks while the next meal arrives.
It is important to note that an invitation to l’apéro in no way guarantees an invitation to lunch or dinner, as the case may be. So if you are a guest, remember to plan your meals in advance.
The great thing about l’apéro is its spontaneity, in the first place, invitations can be completely informal. Large introductions are not required, and even if it is a close circle of people who have met previously during the day, an invitation a few minutes in advance is well accepted.
Continuing with the spontaneous factor, you don't have to worry about a tasting menu while planning l’apéro. Chips and snacks will come in quite handy, basically, any snack with a short name (As well as olives, or cheeses) Don't take it too far with caviar or anything very elegant, that being said, you can be creative, l'apéro is a perfect opportunity to try easy recipes as well as tasting local products, remember that it is something casual.
Following this dynamic, drinks are a fundamental part. Beyond how much the average French loves red wine, l'apéro is a moment of other drinks, in this case, dry white wines are recommended, depending on the region, a fortified wine will come in handy, (In fact, you can ask it in any store as a “vin pour l'apéro”), a Bourgogne-Aligoté AOC wine is a good recommendation.
In addition to wines, whiskey is acceptable according to the taste of the attendees. If you are in the south of France, they will probably offer you a drink called Pastís, a really refreshing liquor that is made from anise and is especially popular in Marseille and the Provence region.
It is especially good during the summer due to its cooling power and is usually mixed with water and ice, although it can also be accompanied by other syrups such as grenadine. Be careful, despite being refreshing, it has a considerable alcoholic degree.
Having the proper time, the guests, and what you will serve, the conversation remains. As a social ritual, l'apéro calls for the conversation between the participants to be pleasant and casual, which means that the attendees have total freedom to express themselves and enjoy (depending on how closely the circle that attends is).
At the end of the year or for special holidays, the family can come together to share this experience and catch up with relatives that they haven't seen in a while. It should be noted that the days most used for l’apéro are weekends, although during the week it is also practiced, especially with co-workers at the end of the working day.
It’s important to mention that you don’t have to do l’apéro at home only, a bar will do just fine, or even a park will give your experience a wonderful setup.
What do you think of this experience? If you go to France, remember that l’apéro is a perfect opportunity to socialize with people around you in a casual and calm way, and also, practice your french. Enjoy! and remember to do it in moderation.
Written by Alejandro Ramírez G.
Alliance Française Silicon Valley
14107 Winchester Blvd. Suite T,
Los Gatos, CA 95032