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Things to do in the Languedoc:   Eating:   French Table Etiquette

Just for fun, here are a few tips about etiquette. You will be regarded as an unutterable barbarian (ie typical "Anglo Saxon") if you do any of the following during meals:

  • Insist on turning your fork over so that it sits on the table tines up.
  • Use the outdated "garçon" rather than "s'il vous plait" when calling a waiter
  • Ask for a "menu" when you mean "carte"
  • Turn your nose up at rosé wine (because you have only ever come across cheap rubbish at home)
  • Turn your nose up at sweet white wine (because in your experience it is drunk only by vulgarians)
  • Demand butter for your bread or complain because the butter is tastless, ie unsalted.
  • Fill wine glasses to the brim, or indeed any more than half way up the bowl.
  • Fail to wish your fellow diners "bon appetit" before starting to eat.
  • Cut the fat off your charcuterie and leave it at the side of your plate.
  • Expect your pudding (US desert) before the cheese course.
  • Fail to take your fair share of the rind when you help yourself to cheese.
  • Demand bread (and butter) to go with your cheese.
  • Ask for a café, and then complain when you get a small cup of strong black coffee rather than a café au lait.

In many restaurants in the Languedoc-Roussillon (but not those with fancy pretensions) you will be expected to keep your knife and fork from one course to the next. In private houses (but not those with pretensions) you may be expected to keep your plates from one course to the next as well.

It is perfectly acceptable to produce your own pocket knife at tables in homes and restaurants (but not those with pretensions) - a vestige of what was normal practice in the Middle Ages throughout Europe .

Click on the following link for recommended books on Languedoc food, eating and regional specialitiesNext.

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Languedoc Food Specialities.