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Bonjour, mes amis! Francijas vakaram būt!

Bonjour, we amis! Have a French evening!

As we all know, the French have a reputation as gourmands and connoisseurs of life. They know how to spend time with their loved ones in an unhurried, elegant and charming way, and most importantly at the table, because the star of the evening will always be food. This is what they are used to from childhood, where children are not prepared separately, allowing them to learn about the nuances of flavors and their variety, as well as teaching them to respect the culture of the table.

Elena Uldrik:

Let's try to encourage and inspire you to create a French evening at home and surprise your family and friends. We will tell you how to set an elegant table, cook French dishes, follow the course of the party and give the evening the real French atmosphere.

The French pay a lot of attention to details and this is reflected in their table settings. Everything from the tablecloth, napkins, cutlery, flowers and of course the food has been carefully selected and coordinated to create an unforgettable evening experience. But one important thing to remember is that you shouldn't try too hard, everything should be easy, that's the secret of a French evening.

In order to have a truly beautiful evening, start preparing early.

When planning a French evening, it is important to come up with a menu. For the French, it is very important to balance the food with each other, to do it filigree and to match it all with wine. This time we will help you with recipes and wine selection. Everything is based on excellent product quality, starting with fresh baguette (how good that you can buy it in several places in Riga - Kūkotava, Marchers, Mīkla, Mulberry and elsewhere), ending with French and only French wine ( Noble wine helped us).

The course of the French dinner:

  • Amuse - bouche (a small snack that can be eaten in one go, finger food).
  • Entrée/ hors-d'oeuvre (appetizer, salad, soup).
  • Plait principal (main course).
  • Fromage (cheese plate).
  • Dessert (dessert).
  • Coffe (coffee, tea).
  • Petit four (small cupcakes that can be eaten in one go).

Good French music is the key to the right atmosphere. The Spotify playlist «French Jazz Cafe» or songs by Charles Aznavour, Serge Gainsbourg, Carla Bruni, Françoise Hardy will suit the evening very well.

The table setting has a special meaning. It should be made elegant and luxurious. French table setting culture almost always uses a tablecloth.

You can choose a festive white tablecloth, but my choice this time is the Toile de Jouy tablecloth (from the Latvian manufacturer Bloomingtrees ), this fabric design originated in the 18th century town of Jouy-en-Josas near Paris, where it was also produced for several centuries. Marie Antoinette loved this fabric and started using it in her "chateaux" interiors. The fabric print can be blue, red, green and it usually reflects motifs and stories from literature, mythology, romantic and philosophical stories, mystical animals. It has even been said that Toile de Jouy was "the first comic".

Be sure to use cloth napkins that match the tablecloth or plates.

Each guest's personal place setting is called a “couvert”, so let's get down to it.

Festive service will certainly add elegance to the table. The most daring and experienced hostesses of the evening can play with the designs and colors of the plates, skillfully mixing them. But remember that the shape and size should be the same, even better if the plates are from the same manufacturer.

An interesting nuance is that in a French table setting, forks and spoons are placed upside down, as if looking down (this arrangement of accessories is rarely used by hostesses of a very traditional French evening). This time I didn't want to confuse anyone and placed the accessories in the usual way. But if you want to be meticulous about all the details, then do it à la française .

A bread plate, usually to the left of the guest, is highly recommended as the French are big fans of bread. You can often see that the bun is placed directly on the table to the left of the plate.

Glasses for water and wine, that's the minimum. Crystal glasses will look especially luxurious. One color of the glasses can accentuate and complement the color range of the table setting. For me, they will be green glass glasses for water.

It is not customary for the French to load the table with many appetizers, usually a couple of types is enough, sometimes even one appetizer. This allows us to elegantly design the center of the table, use several small vases with fresh flowers. Flowers in only one color, for example white, look very tasteful.

Flowers are an integral element of the table setting. Use candlesticks, and having them at several heights will give the table the volume it needs.

Welcome guests with an apéro (aperitif ), it's a real French tradition - a socializing hour before dinner, when guests get to know each other, discuss news while enjoying a glass of champagne or a cocktail. Amuse-bouche (very small snacks) are offered, as well as cheese, nuts, olives, good quality chips. Don't forget to look deep into the eyes and say Santé! (Cheers!).

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