A Short Guide to the French Apéro | Le Temps D’un Café
How to host the perfect apperitif: A Short Guide to the French Apéro | Le Temps D’un Café
L’Apéro is a true religion for so many of us. Before working on my book L’Apéro au Québec, this part of the day was unknown to me. In fact, since I am not a drinker myself, I’ve never felt like the apéro was made for me. I’ve realised how it was not about alcohol but all about the moment. Keep reading to have A Short Guide to the French Apéro | Le Temps D’un Café to create the perfect apperitif!
A Short Guide to the French Apéro
A little bit more about l’apéro
L’apéro is something I’ve learned to do when making the book L’Apéro au Québec. This part of the day, which is basically like a pre-dinner, usually involves small plates and drinks (not always with alcohol). You can enjoy l’apéro before dinner, after work, at a party, before a party, or whenever the sun gets down. If you were wondering, yes, apéro is an other way of saying apéritif. This particular time of the day is all about slowing down and enjoying the moment with amazing company. I made a short guide to the French Apéro to help you with this tradition that I love so dearly.
Choose your location, à la maison ou dehors?
Choosing your location will “set the tone” for your apéro. In fact, this will allow you to plan your apéro accordingly. My favourites are usually with a sunset view during summer. The beauty with this part of the day is that you can host it anywhere with anything and anyone. Have it at home, in a park, at a brasserie, next to the water, in other words, your options are unlimited. Depending on where you go, the food menu may vary. My number one rule for this short guide is that it has to be fun and relaxing.
Du coup, on mange quoi?
Food, probably my favourite part about making a short guide to the French apéro. As I said earlier, your location will basically tell you a lot about the kind of food you will need. Platters are usually my favourites because they can be made quite easily with good local products. However, if you love to cook, a Mediterranean Hummus Mezze Platter is usually my go-to when hosting an apéro à la maison.
For those of you who rather have an apéro dînatoire, which is basically a full dinner, this Cozy Fall dinner is exactly what you need. Being the host is, I believe, a lot of fun and can be done easily without too much effort. If cooking is not for you, head over to a local market to find some delicious pre-made food and sides.
When summer is here, l’apéro usually takes place outside for a cute picnic. I was lucky enough to travel to the French Riviera this summer and visit Antibes. I fell in love with this place but more specifically with Cap d’Antibes where we enjoyed the most unique picnic.
Here are a few food ideas for a successful apéro picnic
- Cheeses that are not too messy
- Canned fish, La Belle-Iloise has some delicious and unique options (salmon, lobster, sardines, tuna, mackerel)
- Tapenade (olive, sun-dried tomato, eggplant, artichokes)
- Fresh bread (baguette or sliced bread)
- Smoked salmon (They are usually on a cardboard which is very convenient for a picnic)
- Fruits that will not stain! (green grapes, white peaches, figs) Stay away from anything that can totally ruin your clothes such as red fruits.
I insist on choosing the right food when making a picnic. Why? Because picnics are not always the most comfortable and it does become messy at times. Therefore, to make sure you don’t ruin your brand new Sandro dress, keeping you away from strawberries is the right thing to do.
A Short Guide to the French Apéro step number 3, what do we drink?
Well, for many, this is probably THE question. However, for people like myself, food is really the main concern. What I’ve learned with time is that the French Apéro doesn’t necessarily involve alcohol. You can go with a non-alcoholic refreshment and enjoy this moment just as much! If you decide to host it at home, people might even bring their own wine. But I would suggest making a homemade cocktail like this delicious drink made with gin, grapefruits and a few other key ingredients to impress your guests.
Drinks ideas for a picnic
- Choose a bottle of wine you can easily close when you’re done (our bottle was made with a wine stopper already). Fun fact: When making this article, I realised that our rosé from Hampton Water was actually by Bon Jovi and his son.
- Create your own cocktail at home and pour them in individual mason jars. You can even make a mixture where you would only need to top with sparkling water or bubbles before serving. Head over to 1 ou 2 Cocktails for some amazing recipes
- Canned cocktails or wine to make your life easier
- Individual champagne bottle if you need to celebrate (or not)
Tips for picnic lovers: What to bring in your basket
An important thing to remember if you decide to do a picnic, is that you need the right equipment to make your life easier. You obviously don’t need much, but these items will definitely be needed during l’apéro.
- Glasses or paper cups (if you have individual cocktails or canned drinks, no need for those)
- Knife and spoons
- Kitchen cloth (usually very helpful and you can use them to protect your glasses)
- Cup holder (you can easily get them when ordering your bread at la boulangerie
- Brown paper, cutting board or kitchen cloth for your food (cheese on a dirty rock? No thanks)
- A bottle of water to clean everything when you’re done
- Bung (wine stopper)
- Paper cup bowl if you need something cute for your olives or things that can’t be on a flat surface
- A cute basket to carry everything
- Picnic throw *optional
Final tips for a (almost) perfect short guide to the French apéro
Choose your outfit wisely! L’apéro is supposed to be the perfect moment to relax and enjoy yourself. In other words, wear something comfortable especially to a picnic. Personally, mini flowy dresses are my favourites. Ministry of Style has a great selection for these type of dresses. Also, don’t forget to bring your camera such as a disposable one or even the Fujifilm Instax Square. These cute cameras are great for these kind of memories and you can even gift some of your pictures to your guests!