Sunday, 6 June 2021

The Aperitif of France.


When I first arrived in France, I was often invited to neighbours' or friends' houses, where invariably out came a bottle of Pastis.

It was taken for granted that all men drank Pastis, much as all men drank coffee. My problem was; I couldn't stand the stuff, so, as this tradition wasn't about to stop, I needed to do something about it. 

I decided to buy myself a litre bottle of Ricard, and I literally trained myself to like it.


It took a while; in fact it took the whole bottle, over a period of several months, but finally I cracked it, and now I have the occasional glass in Summer by choice. It's a very cooling/refreshing drink, and I love it.

I can't imagine many people in GB asking for a Pastis at their local CafĂ© or Pub'; it just wouldn't taste right. But a Ricard in Paris, a Sambuca in Venice, an Ouzo in Santorini, or a Raki in Izmir, goes down very well, and suits the occasion.

It's been warm here recently, so an evening glass of Ricard hits the spot (see above).

 

28 comments:

  1. I love Ouzo but haven't had it in years.

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    1. I have a bottle of Ouzo, here, that has been waiting to be opened for over a decade.

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  2. Pimm's of course, without the fruit.

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    1. A glass of Pimm's on Summer evenings is a delight. Less arm gesticulating; and more refinement.

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  3. I just gave myself a crash course in Pastis and Ricard. Interesting but while I don't mind Ouzo, I don't think I would be keen on either of options really.

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    1. A bit like Marmite/Vegemite; it's an acquired taste.

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  4. That was essential I'm sure to live with the locals. It reminds me of myself and Greek coffee. Not my favourite by any means but I can drink it sweet or bitter and pretend to enjoy it.
    I do enjoy a summer ouzo though, with lots of water and ice. Just one though. Two and my legs start wobbling.
    Stin igeia sas. A votre santé

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    1. We had a Greek friend at college who used to make Greek Coffee. It was always very strong and grainy. I didn't care for it, but I did like her little pot.

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  5. When I had my first Pastis (age twenty, South of France, hot summer) I was in seventh heaven. The taste of liquorice - my favourite childhood "sweet". Aniseed does come with my heritage.

    On my own, having escaped the stoners down the beach (weed not my thing), I found this bar in Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer. Largely empty, (whirring fan on the ceiling) bar, midday sun. I ordered a Pastis and it came with a large carafe of ice cold water to thin it down, again and again and again. That drink lasted me and my book all afternoon.

    Thanks for bringing back a wonderful memory of peace, quiet and Pastis. As you say, it's definitely a drink for a hot summer's day. Which, SURPRISE surprise, you may find in England too.

    U

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    1. As from next Tuesday, it's going to be hot here, so plenty of ice in the freezer, and Pastis in my glass. Things are looking good.

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  6. Hubby likes it but I don't like the smell , I prefer a kir or a kir Breton .

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    1. Usually at restaurants, my wife has a Kir, and I have a Ricard.

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  7. My husband drinks ouzo mixed with an Italian liquorice thick black drink. Tastes and smells like those round liquorice allsorts with the little balls on.

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    1. I eat one liquorice wheel (no hundreds and thousands) every day after lunch. I've done so for years. I don't like the sound of that black drink!!

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  8. I used to drink Richard with water in the 1980s, it was quite fashionable at the time. I haven't touched it for years.

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    1. I used to smoke Gauloise cigs, which always went well with a Ricard.

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  9. In Greece, I would often have a glass or two of ouzo but like "Ricard" it's powerful stuff. Have too much and you may find yourself in Narnia sans trousers.

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    1. I only ever have one. After that I move on to red wine.

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  10. I like the taste of aniseed but strangely I don't really like Pastis. I'll have a Kir please.

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  11. When we lived in Tenerife we used to drink the local equivalent Anis Dulce. I have memories of several quite remarkable headaches as a result.

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    1. One glass is enough for me, and it usually lasts a long time.

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  12. The list of things that I have never done gets longer and longer.

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  13. I have just bought myself a new bottle of Sambuca and enjoy a small glass after supper occasionally. I also enjoy Absinthe with water when I can get it (not many bars offer it).

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    1. Absinthe has made a come-back. I've not seen it on sale.... which is probably a good thing.

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  14. Have heard of Pastis, but don't know exactly what it is... nor Kir. But I did have Greek coffee once at a Greek Festival here in Texas. Only remember that it was very thick.

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    1. Pastis is an alcoholic drink that tastes of aniseed. It is mixed with very cold water and an ice cube. Kir is white wine (or Champagne) with a dash of Blackcurrant juice. Both very Summery drinks.

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