One of my favourite French customs is ‘prendre l’apéritif’ – a tradition that I continue to enjoy!
An aperitif is designed to whet the appetite or prepare the palate for a meal. The word originates from the Latin ‘aperire’ which means to open.
What is the equivalent in the UK, I wonder? Is it a cocktail or maybe a pre-dinner (or lunch) drink? I’ve read that inviting someone for a cup of tea, over here, corresponds to asking someone for an aperitif in France. Really?!
My favourite aperitif is a Kir. This drink originated in Burgundy and was named after Canon Félix Kir, a hero of the French Resistance and a Mayor of Dijon, at one time. Kir is white wine mixed with crème de cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur. I usually favour a dry white wine and rather than give specific measures, I tend to go by the colour. I prefer a blush or pink shade whereas my husband prefers his kir to be a darker colour!
As well as using crème de cassis, other alternatives include: Crème de Mûres (blackberry), Crème de Pêche (peach) or Crème de Framboise (raspberry). Others are available!
However, my favourite version has to be a Kir Royale. This is made up with champagne or sparkling wine instead. We often enjoy this on a Saturday evening but I must confess that we use Prosecco!
In the second part of this post, I’ll be writing about another aperitif that is produced in the Languedoc, called Noilly Prat.
Do you have a favourite aperitif? I’d love to know!