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Things to do in the Languedoc:   Food:   Regional Specialities:   Coffee and other Drinks

A couple of things you need to know about coffee: First, if you ask for a café you will be given a small strong black coffee. This is not a bizarre eccentricity. It is the traditional way to drink coffee.

If you come from the Anglo-Saxon world, you might well prefer a large milky white coffee. If you want one in the morning you should ask for a café au lait - this will be regarded is perfectly reasonable. If you want one at any other time you should ask for a café crême - if you do this after meals you may well be treated with a sort of condescending tolerance due to foreign barbarians who cannot be expected to know better.

Incidentally, the people of the Languedoc are entirely unaware of the delights of real milk or cream. Your white coffe will almost certainly be made with UHT milk, so don't expect to enjoy it.


Another thing you need to know is that most French people regard tea as disgusting. This is not unreasonable as all French tea (until very recently) has been disgusting. For resons that are not at all obvious, firms like Liptons only supply the most appalling rubbish to France - with the inevitable result that everyone shuns it. (If anyone can suggest why Liptons should do this, the webmaster would be intested to hear).

Many locals drink tissanes, various kinds of herbal tea. Tipically you pick a few fresh herbs, put them in a teapot, pour hot water over them, leave for a couple of minutes, then strain off. As so often, the locals have clearly got it right: not only do your own fresh herbs cost nothing, they are free of caffein and other poisons, taste delicious, and often promote good health.

Beware that you can't do this with any old herbs - (there are heaps of Occitan sayings about the unfortunate effects of making tissanes with the wrong herbs). If you are in a restaurant, you are sife enough ordering any tissanes on the menu. Similarly you are safe enough with anything offered by a local. If you want to try making tissane yourself, start with sage (good for the digestion) or vervain (helps you sleep).

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Languedoc Food Specialities: Soft Drinks

Food in the


Coffee and other Drinks