I was invited for a luncheon by the House of Alsace, a company which markets the wine, food, and tourism of Alsace, France. We have an increasing middle class who can be tapped to try global experiences such as French food and wine. It was my first time to dine like a French (although I am part of the upper middle class). I felt shy because I did not know what to do and felt disappointed because I did not do my research. There are possibly millions of people like me who could have been ignorant even at the age of 28! Thus, I am writing about my first French dining experience!
- Start from the outside until you get to the inside
You will see a lot of forks, knives, spoons, wine glasses and plates on your area. It was confusing because I only use one spoon and fork whenever we have dinner at home. Since the event is a three-course meal, there are two forks on my left, two knives on my right, a small spoon and fork above my plate. I normally watch this kind of setting on romantic movies but I did not pay much attention.
On the first course- Baby Romaine Salad with Cajun Shrimp, Parmeggiano Reggiano and Marinated Anchovies, you have to use the leftmost fork and the rightmost knife. On the main course- Pan Roasted Red Snapper with Ratatouille, Creamy Polenta and Basil Pesto, you have to use the remaining fork and knife. On the last course (dessert)- Apple and Cinnamon Crumble with Chanilly Cream and Caramel Sauce, you have to use the small spoon and fork above your plate.
2. Sometimes it is a puzzle how to eat it.
How will you eat above food? The whole bread seems hard. Then the leaves are encircled by that hard bread. How can you say that it is a Caesar’s Salad? You have to break the bread using your fork and knife. As the bread is broken into pieces, it becomes similar to bread crumbs. Voila! You certainly do have a Caesar’s salad! In this case, baby Romaine Caesar with Cajun Shrimp, Parmeggiano Reggiano, and Marinated Anchovies.
3. There is always a partner wine on every course
There will be a partner wine on every course- Gustave Lorentz Pinot Blanc 2017 for the first course, Gustave Lorentz Riesling 2017 for the main course, and Gustave Lorentz Gewürztraminer 2017 for the dessert. The wine for the first course would have the lightest taste and effect. As you go to the main course and finisher, taste and effect of the wines become heavier.
I discovered that there is a reason why wine glasses have stems. If we hold the wine glass’ bowl, the chilled wine gets easily warm because humans are warm. We transmit the warm energy that our hands emit. Therefore, you should hold the wine glass through its stem.
You should smell the wine before you drink it. It has smelly minerals which are good for relaxation. You can as well jiggle your glass so the wine can mix with oxygen. Or make it in motion in your mouth by inhaling through it.
When you toast with someone, there should be eye to eye contact as well. You should drink the wine after doing the toast. Putting it back on the table without even getting a sip is considered rude.
I am very grateful to the Heart of Alsace for inviting me to this event. Please visit their website www.heartofalsace.com to know more about their wine, food, and tour offers. I am also blessed to meet wonderful people like His Excellency Nicolas Galey, Ambassador of France to the Philippines, Marie-Reine Fischer, President of Eastern France Tourism Agency, Grace Annie Bonquin, President of the Heart of Alsace, Benoit Ghosted, Founder and CEO of Magnific Escapades, Oliviere Midiere, CEO of the Heart of Alsace, Morad Tayebi, Regional Director of ATOUT France for ASEAN, Camille Eva Marie Conde, Press Attache for the Embassy of France to the Philippines, Alexandre Willman, Senior Tourism Promotion Manager, and Maria Theresa Carrido, Travel Manager of the Heart of Alsace.
We hope we can do more collaborations like featuring the 7 Principal Alsatians Wines and Things To Do while in Alsace, France.