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Let’s talk French cuisine

The summer holiday is long gone and November always carries a bit of doom and gloom. What better moment to let our imagination fly and travel via brain waves to the country of exquisite cuisine, ballet and fashion? If you haven’t guessed already, today’s blog entry will explore a bit of French vocabulary that will help you spend a lovely, carefree night out in a posh Parisian restaurant.

Let’s start our journey by imagining you have already booked a table at Le Jules Verne, the famous place in the Eiffel Tower, planning to drink (boire) and eat (manger) something amazing.

The host sees you to your table, saying:

Installez-vous (Have a seat)

A simple Merci! (Thank you) is an appropriate answer.

You are opening the menu (la carte) and start exploring the possibilities.Those who have tapped into the mastery of French chefs, would most likely recommend one of these dishes:

Soupe à l’oignon a traditional French soup made of onions and beef stock, usually served with croutons and melted cheese on top. The soup’s unique flavor comes from the caramelization of the onions, which often have brandy or sherry added during the slow-cooking process.

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Coq au vinThe dish sees chicken braised with wine, mushrooms, salty pork or bacon (lardons), mushrooms, onions, garlic and sometimes even a drop of brandy. Although the name translates as ‘rooster in wine’ – the braising is ideal for tougher birds – the recipe usually uses chicken or capon.

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Boeuf bourguignon is essentially a stew made from beef braised in red wine, beef broth, and seasoned vegetables including pearl onions and mushrooms.

Confit de canard is a tasty French dish of duck – although some chefs use goose or pork – and is one of the finest French dishes. It is typically served with confit roasted potatoes and garlic on the side.

For dessert (le dessert), try a Chocolate soufflé, a light, airy dessert ( this may not be sweet) or a Tarte Tatin, a delightful apple pastry.

Now that you have chosen your dream dish (le repas), a smiling waiter (le serveur) approaches your table. This is what he might say:

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Vous avez choisi ? (Have you decided?)

Que voudriez-vous? (What would you like?)

Vous désirez ? (What would you like?

Je vous écoute. (Go ahead, I’m listening.)

Que prenez-vous? (What are you having?)

Qu’est-ce que je vous sers? (What can I get you?)

Et ensuite de ça? (And after that? What else?)

J’arrive (I’ll be right there/back)

What you might respond…

Je voudrais…/J’aimerais… (I would like…)

Je vais prendre…/Je prends… (I’ll have…)

Combien coûte…? (How much does … cost?)

While waiting for your order, enjoy a glass of wine with your table mates:

À la vôtre! (Cheers!)

Don’t forget to wish them Bon appétit! (Enjoy your meal!)  when your order arrives (the waiter might say this too).

Later, the waiter might ask…

C’est à votre goût? (Do you like it? Is everything ok?)

C’est terminé? (Have you finished?)

Ça a été? (Was everything ok?).

Don’t forget to compliment the chef, ask for the bill (l’addition), and leave a generous tip (le pourboire) if the service was not included (service non compris).

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Finish your evening with a walk in Parc du Champ-de-Mars which is just around the corner (click here for the virtual tour!).

Article by Lavinia Marcu

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