French etiquette, how to eat that complicate plates Part 1

There are several differences between the French table manners and American dinner etiquette. Table manners in France are fundamental to every public dining situation. And every essential skill has to be built on a solid knowledge base. For French’s dining is more than just consuming calories, it is an Art de Vivre, a part of the partimoine culture. There is a proper technique for eating everything from foie gras to salad… 

1. Foie gras

Cutlery: small knife, small fork.

Cut your foie gras with a fork and place enough for one mouthful on a small piece of toast. You can also use your knife (the blades are now made of stainless steel) although a fork is more elegant.

2. Smoked salmon

Cutlery: Fish cutlery.

• With toast

Butter a small piece of toast. Then sprinkle several drops of lemon juice on the salmon on your plate. Cut a piece with your fish knife. Bring the salmon to your mouth with the fork and eat the buttered bread along with it. 

• With blinis

Eat in the same way as caviar with blinis.

3. Shellfish

Cutlery: oyster fork.

Take the small fork found on the left of the forks. Use this very practical fork to detach all of the flesh from the shell and swallow.

You can drink the seawater although delicately without making any noise.

A fingerbowl is required with this dish.

4. Salad

Cutlery: a fork (only).

Never cut lettuce with a knife. Use your fork and a piece of bread to carefully fold the leaves before bringing them to your mouth. In a good house, the leaves should never be too big in order to eat them without difficulty.

5. Cheese

Cutlery: small knife.

Never touch the cheese with your fingers. You should use a piece of bred to hold your cheese and remove the crust with your knife. Never use your fork, even if you’re given one, except for gruyere, if you eat it without bread.

6. Soups, consumes, bisques, fish soups

Cutlery: soupspoon or entremets spoon.

Use the spoon to the right of your knife. Bring it slowly to your mouth and drink out of the end of the spoon. In Great Britain, soups are eaten from the side of the spoon. Never drink from the consume bowl. Above all, never raise the dish if the soup is poured into a soup dish.

Bon appétit, Chantal

© Pictures: front page istock

 
Chantal - Children

Bonjour, my name is Chantal. I’m often told that I’m “so French”. This is, in part, due to my traditional upbringing in Versailles, one of the most conservative cities in France, famous for its chateau, good schools and large families. I have three daughters. They’re model children, cheerful, nice and really fashionable. I’m in Paris almost every afternoon for my charity work and I still work part-time as a dance teacher. When the occasion presents itself, I teach etiquette to children at school. I’ll try and explain why my children get so many compliments.    

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