How to serve that complicate plates part 3

In French culture, there are rules about how certain foods are to be served at formal occasions. The most difficult dishes to serve are not necessarily the most difficult to enjoy. Serving grapefruit, a nougat glacé or a cantaloupe to Parisian guests? In French tradition, there’s special etiquette for serving these dishes. Here are a few do’s and don’ts for the perfect hostess or host…



Cantaloupe should always be served pre-cut. This may be done in different ways.
• Cut in two, lengthwise, if its big enough. Serve plain or pour a little port wine into the hollow part.
• Cut in two lengthwise, and scoop the flesh into little balls. May be served this way with or without the port wine. Looks really nice.
• Cut a “hat” out of the top (with no frills), and let it rest. Serve with or without port wine.
• Trendy way ! Slice and peel. This is the method used when we serve the melon with Parma ham.
You can also add fresh figs wrapped in Parma ham.
Original idea: decorate with orange and Parma flowers to make this dish as delicious to behold as it is to eat.


Must be pre-cut.
Either serve it right (attractive and ready to eat) or don’t bother to serve it at all. Cut in two, lengthwise. Separate each slice cleanly with the tip of a knife, and leave in place. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.


Utensils: cake server and large spoon (for soft frozen desserts)

cake server and cake knife (for frozen pies or cakes)
Place a napkin or doily on the serving dish and unmold the desert; this way, it won’t slide. If you want to fancy things up, you can place fresh or poached fruit around ice cream or sherbet.
Coulis (fruit sauce) crème anglaise (custard cream), or chocolate sauce should be served in a sauce boat.
You can find very good ready to serve frozen desserts as Dalloyau or Lenotre one, famous patissier traiteur.

© pictures home page Istock, inside Lenotre

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Isabelle - Spotlight

Bonjour, my name is Isabelle. At my parent’s, a week didn’t go by without a social gathering. It may have been a garden-party, a bridge party or a diner dance. No caterers, of course, everything was homemade! With my sisters, we learned how to put different spreads on toast, the right way of course, arrange the flowers for the tables or decorate the buffet, to say the right thing to each guest or organize an elegant picnic. As appropriate, I learned etiquette during these receptions and also had “savoir-vivre” lessons. Today, I work in public relations in Paris and the education that I received is of great use. I’ll give you several very Parisian tips…

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Edizione Italiana

Edita da RIZZOLI, Sophie la Parigina è una guida di stile moderna su PARIGI. Illustrata dai disegni di Alessandra Ceriani, completata da un elenco degli indirizzi preferiti dalla parigina e arricchita di ricette gastronomiche.


English Edition

Published by RIZZOLI New York, Sophie the Parisian'sis a modern life style guide about PARIS. Illustrated with color drawings, complemented by a list of Parisians' favorite locations and enriched with gastronomic recipes.

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