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The French Aperitif: A Taste of French Savoir-Vivre Culture 

The aperitif, affectionately known as “apero” in France, is a cherished pre-dinner tradition
that combines casual drinks with delightful finger foods.
It’s a dining experience that requires no cutlery and is celebrated any time of day. As the
French saying goes, “il n’y a pas d’heure pour l’apero” (there is no set time for taking an
aperitif). Typically enjoyed around 6 p.m., this delightful ritual can last for 30 minutes or even

The Historical Origins

The term “aperitif” traces its roots back to the Latin verb “aperire,” which translates to “open.”
In ancient Rome, people savored a glass of wine with honey before their meals to aid
digestion. During the Middle Ages, the aperitif took the form of a plant-based drink with a
touch of alcohol, consumed prior to a meal to stimulate the appetite.
In 1846, French chemist Joseph Dubonnet concocted an elaborate drink using wine and
plants, initially intended to combat malaria. He added spices and herbs to mellow its
Joseph’s wife decided to serve this concoction as an aperitif to her guests, who were
enamored by its taste. The aperitif gained immense popularity through word of mouth (le
bouche à oreille).

The Evolving Tradition

Over time, the pre-dinner tradition evolved, incorporating appetizers and becoming known as
“aperitif dinatoire” (aperitive dinner). Today, the aperitif is an integral part of French

The Aperitif: A French Way of Life 

According to a 2018 CSA research study, three out of four French people organise an
aperitif at least once a month. For the French, any occasion is an excellent excuse to gather
with friends and family around an aperitif.

What to serve? 

Whether you opt for a simple or chic aperitif, success lies in the combination of pleasure,
taste, and quality. Pair your drinks with a delectable array of foods, including cheese,
charcuterie (delicatessen), raw vegetables, quiche, fresh bread, and olives.
For those seeking a more sophisticated experience, consider serving mini skewers, petits
fours, savory cakes, dips, verrines (food served in small glasses), mini-wraps, and individual
desserts. The possibilities are endless, and you can explore exciting recipes for your aperitif
dinatoire here: Link to recipes.

Mini Stewer mozzarella with cherry tomatoes

The aperitif is more than just a prelude to dinner; it’s a celebration of French culture and
savoir-vivre. So, gather your loved ones, select your favorite treats, and savor the joy of the
French aperitif, where time stands still and every moment is a celebration of life.

Are you ready to embark on a journey of language and culture? Why not learn French with
French Lessons Perth in Australia today? Take the first step towards fluency and open the
door to a world of possibilities.
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