A social phenomenon or an oriental mode, more and more of the Parisian are drinking tea on a daily basis: the young want to drink something different and are very much informed of the effects of green tea on health as it reputedly contains anti-oxidants, and connoisseurs look for quality and rarity. In fact, in accordance with the French gourmet tradition, the French disdain vulgar teabags and look for quality teas, from the best plantations in India, China, Japan or Africa. In Paris, teas scented with the petals of exotic flowers and flavored with fruit or mint are enjoying great success…

For a very long time in France, cheese was considered food for the masses, and therefore actually low-class. Until the French Revolution (1780), cheese was hardly mentioned in French menus. However, for a large part of the French population, cheese constituted the only source of protein in their diets. Nonetheless, certain dairy products, such as crème fraiche (sort of like our sour cream) and fresh soft cheeses (akin to our cream cheese or cottage cheese) were considered worthy of aristocratic palates.

The french way to serve wine

In France, serving wine is not simply a question of pouring a liquid into a glass. It’s a sign of refinement and breeding that takes savoir-faire. To a certain degree, it’s ceremonial, especially in Paris…

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…

At an upper crust dinner, how does one seat guests, in a way that shows respect for everyone and hurts no one’s feelings? Seating protocol is a conundrum for many a host and hostess.
The first thing to do is to draw up a guest list in order of social status and age. This will determine the order in which people are seated relative to the hosts of the table.

"In Parisian tradition, being a first-class hostess is more than pouring drinks and seeing that everyone gets fed. Meticulous attention to detail is very important to us, even after the meal.  Guests must feel pampered and cocooned as they slowly digest and engage in after-dinner conversation. It’s up to the hostess to see that everyone is having a nice time and will have wonderful memories of the evening. It’s time to serve good coffee, relaxing herbal teas, or delightful liqueurs.  If smoking is allowed, it’s also the right time to pass around the cigarette box, and offer the gents hand-rolled Churchills."

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 foie gras, smoked salmon or fish 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…

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