I have been living in France for four years now and I have learned that the French have many interesting traditions and customs. But, there are a couple of things they really, really love doing – talking about politics, having struck, enjoying sports and THE APERO. Ah, yes! It wouldn’t be farfetched to say that the Apero – French tradition that everyone here practices with devotion and as often as possible. If you decide to settle in France, forget about all that ‘going out for a drink’ thing. Now – you are having an Apero!!!
What actually is the Apero?
Well, after a hard day of work, the French like to forget about everything and take their time to relax. France is a country ruled by the gourmands and the wine-lovers so it is only normal that the favourite pastime of the locals involves food and alcohol. This is exactly what the Apero is – a time before dinner when you enjoy a glass of alcohol with some delicious nibbles. Top that with a nice, rustic atmosphere of a French bar and voilà you have the perfect formula for 100% chill time.
Here, you non-Frenchies would probably point out that the Apero sounds exactly like after-work drinks and I am simply exaggerating when I say that it is something special. Mais, non mes amis – I am not. The Apero is the epitome of the French Mode de Vivre (way of life.) It is something that is part of their identity and a look into their state of mind. Because the Apero is not simply an excuse to get drunk and party. It is about enjoying the small, quality things in life in good company and with family.
When to have the Apero?
That is a question of personal preference. If you ask me, having a glass of wine and some saucisson et Fromage is a 24/7 option. But since it is not socially acceptable to drink during the day (eye roll) let’s say that the time for Apero in France starts around 18h00 – 19h00.
What to drink for your Apero?
That is a personal choice as well. A glass of white wine or some rose is ideal in the summer and a beloved classic. One of my favourite aperitifs is a fruity Lillet or a delicious Aperol cocktail. The French often order a drink called Pastis which is anise-flavoured alcohol. And if you really, really want to, you can even go with a beer.
What to eat for your Apero?
If you don’t feel like being too fancy – a baguette, saucissons and some cheese are easy choices that everyone will enjoy. But here are some more creative ideas, just in case:
Foie gras on a toast
When a French wants to be extra, foie gras is always on the table – literally and figuratively. Slightly toast some bread and put a thin slice of the delicacy on it.
Crackers with cream cheese and salmon
One of my favorites. I love the combination of the sour taste of the cream cheese with the smokiness of the fish.
Tapenade and baguette
Tapenade is a typical Provençal dish, made from the olive paste. Combine it with a fresh, tasty baguette and you have yourself a treat.
Fig jam, walnuts, and blue cheese toast
Yum. Another great combination you can serve for your Apero. Although the ingredients are so different, they pair amazingly well
Goat cheese and honey crackers
You might have noticed by now that the French like to mix their cheeses with something sweet. This combination is a prime example of that. Give it a try.
So, here you go. Do you want to take part in some French traditions? Start with the Apero – its one of their best!