Table Manners

3 tips to appear socially refined when drinking

In high-end social gatherings, there are always some tricky situations when you wonder yourself: “What should I do now?” Of course, you don’t want to disgrace yourself and let others comment you. Let me release you from some doubts with the following faux pas that definitely should be avoided when drinking beverages.


I left a lipstick /food mark on the glass, what should I do?

It would be a shame to have a messy glass in front of you no matter if you are a refined lady or gentlemen. Here is how to handle this situation.

To avoid
1. When you leave the mark, don’t take your napkin and polish the glass, that’s a waiter’s job before serving the glass.

2. Also, don’t just leave the mark for the entire night, it’s very tasteless.
3. Is it okay to ask the waiter every time to replace your glass? Absolutely not!

To do
1. Dab your mouth before drinking for the first time, to remove the surplus lipstick/food.

You had your first sip but you still left the mark:
1. Lower the glass at the belly level while having a conversation, or having eye contact with other dinner participants.
2. Without looking at, discreetly erase the mark with your thumb.

 

3. Return the glass onto the table.

 

4. Clean your thumb in your napkin and continue enjoying your dinner.

 

Don’t decide anymore not to apply lipstick when drinking!

 

My tea is ready, but what should I do with a tea bag?

These days you may quite often find yourself served with a glass of hot water and tea bag. For the correct etiquette do/avoid the following.

To avoid
1. If you place the bag in your teacup and you don’t remove it at all, over-steeping tea can make the tea taste bitter and has an astringent effect in the mouth, leaving you feeling dry and pucker. Also, it may bring stains on your cup or teeth!
2. Don’t pick up the bag by its string and jiggle it.

3. Avoid removing it without letting it drain, it will flood your saucer.

 

To do
1. Remove the bag with your spoon and hold it over the cup so it can drain.

 

2. Wind the string around the bag while it’s on your spoon and squeeze it dry.

 

3. Place the bag on your saucer, behind your cup.

 

4. When the tea is served in a mug without a saucer, go ahead and ask for a small dish.

 

My drink has the garnish, can I eat it?

 

Usually, you can eat it as long it has the edible parts! Here is how to eat it.

To avoid
1. Tapping the bottom of the glass or frantically trying to fish out a garnish with a straw is simply not acceptable for anyone.

 

2. Don’t eat lemons and limes because they will destroy your taste buds before your next drink.

To do
1. Eat your garnish after you have drunk your beverage.

 

2. Inedible portions of garnish should be placed onto its cocktail napkin, in the absence of it, place them into the glass or your bread plate. But never onto the bare tabletop!

 

Dear all, these summer tips will help you present yourself as gracious, polished and refined at any social gathering. Do you have any other tricky questions for us? Please share with us!

Quiz question
If your glass is wet from the ice melting on a hot summer day and you don’t want to wet your hand as well- what will you do?

Read More

Hot or cold water, which one is the best?

Dear ladies and gentlemen, shall we drink hot or cold water once having dinner? Here in China most people drink hot water, but did you know that many countries are more likely to drink cold, even ice, water when eating, also in winter? Hot or cold, which one do you prefer? One can help to get slimmer!

I remember clearly a moment of my childhood, one of the first time I had to bring water at the dinner table for my family: my mother asked me to fill the carafe again, because the first one I brought was with hot water, and not chill water. Indeed, in many Western countries, it is very common to drink cold water.

So I was very surprised once arriving in China to discover people are mostly drinking hot water here. But it seems I am not the only one: when I try to Google “Why Chinese drink…” it automatically presents me “hot water”.

Even though the Chinese could come up with a million of good things about drinking hot water, many tourists still refuse the hot water served in restaurants. That is why luxury hotels and international restaurants in China would serve cool water if they hear someone come for abroad.

Now, I also drink hot water. Once I was traveling to America, in wintertime, and I received a class filled with cubes of ice! But being used to live in China I had to ask them “room temperature” water. I am becoming Chinese somehow. Did you experience it? Now let’s compare the two options.

Advantages of drinking warm water

Calm down: Warm water helps your central nervous system to calm down, thus enabling more controlled reactions. Moreover, it will help to feel fewer aches, pains and panicked moments throughout the day.

Blood circulation: Warm water helps your organs to carry blood more effectively, decreasing risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Digestion: Warm water helps activating and soothing your digestion: digestive organs are better hydrated and able to eliminate waste. Hot water can dissolve and dissipate things you’ve eaten that your body might have had trouble digesting.

Nasal congestion: The steam of the hot water can help loosen clogged sinuses and even relieve a sinus headache. Since you have mucous membranes throughout your neck and upper torso, drinking hot water can help warm that area and soothe a sore throat.

Advantages of drinking cold water

Weight loss: Cold water will boost your metabolism by 550%, as your body needs to compensate the temperature lost. It will then burn more calories.

Cool down: In summertime, drinking cool water is good for your health. It is definitely the best to balance the heat, it helps your body to regulate its temperature.

What the best to do then?

Finally, it seems to be again the good etiquette rule we often give: it’s all about adaptation. Depending the moment, we should drink warm or cold water.

Warm water: Definitely recommended when eating, when being sick and in winter. It will help the body to preserve its energy by not having to compensate a liquid colder than the body’s temperature.

Cold water: This shall be kept for summertime during heat waves, or after heavy exercises. It would help your body to get back to normal temperature (but don’t drink ice water! It would be too much of a shock!)

So finally, which one do you prefer? Which one is the best according to you? Tell us your opinion!

Follow us for more etiquette articles and class information.

Read More

How to eat fruit formally?

Dear ladies and gentlemen, spring is coming soon which also means more seasonal and fresh fruits. Do you know how to eat certain fruits in high-end restaurants or during a formal dinner? Let’s review together!

I. Cherry

Cherries are a small stoned fruit, how would you eat it? Take one by the stem, put it in your mouth and spit the stone out? Most of you agree that is not an elegant way to eat cherries.

How to eat

1. Use you spoon to take one cherry

2. Place entirely the fruit in your mouth and clean the pit as much as possible

3. Use again your spoon to take out the pit, while you do that, use your free hand to cover your mouth

4. Discard the pit on your plate.

II. Banana

If you have a banana served to you during a formal occasion, how would you eat it? Will grab it with your hands, peel off the skin and put it in your mouth? This behavior, if you were back to the 19th century is considered as “the monkey way”, worth for savages and very impolite.

How to eat

1. Cut off the two ends of the banana

2. Use the fork to press the banana softly, with your knife you will open only the skin from one end to the other

3. Use your fork and knife to peel off the skin to the sides, put the ends of the fruit in the skin

4. Cut and eat in small pieces

III. Watermelon

Do you take one slice of watermelon and bite on it? During any formal occasions, if watermelon is served, it won’t be as a slice but rather cubed or in pieces without the skin.

How to eat

1. Use your fork to cut a bite sized piece

2. Bring it to your mouth. Small bites of watermelon at a time

3. If you want to get rid of the seeds, just use the tines of your fork to pull them out and leave it on the side of your plate

4. Then again if necessary cut a small piece before eating.

IV. Mango

The mango skin is really thick making it inedible. The mango can be presented to you already cubed, in that case just use your fork to take a piece and eat it. If the mango is presented to you as a whole, you can try the checkboard method.

How to eat

1. Start by trimming a small piece from the top part of the fruit so you can keep it steady

2. Then cut two large slices along the pit and cut all the way round

3. To create the checkboard, cut some lines from one side to the other and then some lines equally space going the opposite direction. The slices should be deep but without cutting through the skin

4. To eat the fruit, cut the cubes away from the peel

V. Kiwi fruit

Some people can eat the skin of the kiwi but it can be a little bit irritating. Another simple way to eat kiwi would be to cut the fruit in half and then scoop out the flesh with a spoon, but there is a third method, more elegant to eat it.

How to eat

1. Trim off both ends of the kiwi

2. You can use a pairing knife or a spoon to peel off the skin (insert the spoon under the skin and turn)

3. Slice the kiwi fruit and enjoy

VI. Grapefruit

You are having a grapefruit at the table, how should you eat it? You might want to peel the skin off with your hands but it is thicker than the orange skin. In this case, using a knife is ideal as it will take off most of the pith (the bitter white part) and it is also a more gracious solution.

How to eat

1. Cut the bottom part of the grapefruit to keep it steady

2. Hold the top of the fruit with your fork and with the knife start making a cut on the skin from top to down deep enough so you can peel off the pith easier, 1 cm away from the top piece and repeat the gesture all around the grapefruit

3. Pull the skin away from the flesh using your knife

4. Cut small pieces before eating

Dear all now you are all set to enjoy your next meal! Are there any other fruits you are confused with and don’t know how to eat elegantly? Please share with us!

Follow us for more etiquette articles and class information.

Read More

Table Plans for Social Occasions

Dear ladies and gentlemen: we often have family dinners, or dinners with friends. How to create a proper table plan for this occasion? I propose you to discover here the etiquette rules for social occasions.

What are table plans?

We use table plans to designate who will be seated where at the table. This is not done at random but by precedence: who is more important, more senior, than whom, and who has the right to be seated next to important people. Imagine for instance you have to do a table plan for these people for dinner at your home:

Complicated right? I will give you the answer after a few explanations.

How to create table plans

Step One: People

In our example, squares are men, rounds are women. Square 1 is the most important man, round 1 the most important woman, square 2 the 2nd most important man, round 2 the 2nd most important man etc.

Step Two:How to start?

You start to place the host and hostess at the extremity of the table.

This is the family style. Generally, the host faces the entrance of guests (so that he can guide late comers) and the hostess faces the kitchen door, in order to guide staff serving with eye contact. We use the same approach for round tables.

Step 3: How to place the people ranked 2nd?

Here you have to remember 2 rules:

1. The right is more important than the left.
2. We alternate the genders.

You will note it is actually the same for a round table:

Rules:

1. The most important man (the host)has the 2nd most important womanon his right.
2. Then we place the 3rd most important lady on his left. Same for the hostess.
3. Mrs. 2 has the seniority ranking to receive Mr. 4 on her right.
4. Mr. 2 has the seniority ranking to receive Mrs. 4 on his right. We place the 5 then.

Practice

In reality, there is often not the same amount of ladies and gentlemen, sothen you have to be smart.

Let’s come back to our guests.

1. So, first of all, who will be the host with you? (we consider “you” as a lady, the table plan would be different if “you” is a gentleman). It has to be a man, as there is not your husband / boyfriend here. Then, most important man here, and the only official, is Emmanuel Macron, as President of France.

On your right, the 2nd most important man could be either Ma Yun or Ma Huateng. I consider Ma Yun has been successful and famous before Ma Huateng, so he has the precedence.

Then, who is the 2nd most important lady seating on the right of Macron? Normally it should be Brigitte Macron, but spouses cannot be seated together. So I choose to place Angelina Jolie, as she is an UN embassador.

The 3rd most important man is of course Ma Huateng. On the left of Macron I choose to place Zhang Ziyi, as she has been famous before all the other ladies.

Now we can place Brigitte Macron on the right of Ma Yun. Ma Huateng deserves to have the next most important lady: Gao Yuanyuan (who has been famous before Lady Gaga)

Finally, on the side of Angelina Jolie we should have a man, but we only have women left. Shall we have Lady Gaga of your sister? In table plans, family members are “useful guests”: you can place them at the last rank they should not hate you too much (normally…), and you make feel your second to last guest good to have someone of your family below him/her. That’s why I place Gaga close to Angelina Jolie, and the sister close to Zhang Ziyi.

This was an example of simple complexity. Imagine now how difficult it can be if you have dozens of persons to place, and have to find out who is of higher importance than who! If you want to know more, please let us know!

Follow us for more etiquette articles and class information.

Read More

Drinks that accentuate your femininity

Dear ladies, I am sure you encounter the situation when you should drink alcoholic drink either to join the toast or to have a nice picture to share on social media. Since you are sophisticated lady, your drink order should support that image. I’ve created the list of top 6 drinks a lady can choose according to the taste, elegance and attractiveness when taking a photo. Let’s stay classy together!

Quick etiquette tips

1. Bring the glass to your mouth, not the opposite, don’t slouch!


Princess Diana is bending her head too much

2. If wearing lipstick, check it from time to time so it’s not ruined and drink from the same point so the glass doesn’t get messy.


Lipsticks everywhere is not elegant

3. When toasting with foreigners, clink the glasses and look them into eyes.


Always having eye contact when toasting!

4. Better hold the glass with the left hand in case you have to shake hands, exchange a wechat with your telephone, or simply take a call on the right hand.

5. Never have your small finger extended.


Do you know why you can’t raise the small finger?

6. Don’t mix different drinks, you can easily get tipsy.

Ladylike drinks

1. Cosmopolitan Cocktail

The taste is sour, fruity and refreshing. It’s very feminine cocktail because of the colour and the glass shape. You can match the colour with pink lipstick or nails for the best photo.

Drinkware etiquette



All glasses used for shooting are from Baccarat

Pinch the cocktail glass at the stem closer to the liquid so you can perfectly balance the whole glass. It’s not elegant either proper to grab it on the V shape part.


Samantha properly holding the Cosmo which is the signature cocktail of the show “Sex and the city”

2. The White Lady Cocktail

The taste is sour and fruity, but it’s a bit stronger cocktail. The name comes from a lady who was a platinum blonde. Coupe glass is very feminine and elegant, the white liquid even more adds to the luxury look.

Drinkware etiquette


Pinch at the stem. You may use another hand as a support. It’s not elegant either proper to grab it on the upper part of the glass.


Yang Ziqiong holding the glass in a wrong way.

3. Rose Champagne

Most elegant drink you can ever ask for. You can go with different options, but Rose Champagne with its pale pink colour, crisps, clean flavours and delicate bubbles is a perfect ladylike choice.

Drinkware etiquette


Same way of holding as of the cocktail glass. If your other hand is free you can pinch with that one as well, it’s a nice way to show your rings and beautiful hands.


Zhang Ziyi holding the glass of Rose Champagne with the both hands.

4. Chardonnay Wine

If you like the idea of rich and creamy taste then the classic style of oak-aged Chardonnay wine is a choice for you. With wine you can never lose face and your femininity. Nice jewellery will make the glass of white wine sparkle even more.

Drinkware etiquette


It should be always pinched at the stem with 3 fingers( thumb, index and middle finger).


Pinkish colour goes well with Chardonnay wine

5. Prosecco

Taste is usually dry but because of grapes’ fruity flavors it tastes sweeter than it is. This glass can make you very feminine and elongate your posture because of its slim appearance.

Drinkware etiquette


Pinch it by the stem. For additional support you may place your pinky finger underneath the base.


Posing with Prosecco will be a nice choice for elegant ladies

6. Black forest coffee cocktail

It’s a special coffee cocktail. The flavour is sweet and reminiscent of the Black Forest cake and has fewer calories. It’s garnished with whip cream and cherry which makes it look & taste very yummy.

Drinkware etiquette


Here we can warm up the cognac with a hand which will help release the aromas.


Kate Middleton holding the snifter glass in inappropriate way

Dear ladies, I hope this will help you in your next high-end gathering. Take the photo with one of the drinks you like and send it to us, the most elegant ones we’ll share on our social media!

Many thanks to our partner Baccarat for sponsoring us with these beautiful glasses!

Follow us for more etiquette articles and class information

Read More

The proper etiquette for eating Spaghetti

Dear ladies, gentlemen, children, you may have the opportunity to go to Europe and more precisely to Italy. This country, offer us a delicious kind of pasta quite hard to eat elegantly: The Spaghetti. With a spoon, a fork? How to deal with the sauce? Here are the answers to those difficulties to help you remain sophisticated when eating Spaghetti in restaurant.

The spoon mores

We use to hear that it is recommended to use a soup spoon to eat Spaghetti, that it helps to wind the pasta around the fork. But to be honest, this is really not from the Italian customs. You can indeed use a spoon as a support but it is not considered as the right way to eat them: the fork is the single cutlery needed to eat Spaghetti properly.


Here is an example of the right way to use a spoon if it is necessary.

Wind around the fork

When you start eating Spaghetti, take three or four pastas with your fork. Then start to wind the Spaghettis around your fork, placing the teeth of the fork on the plate with a 45° angle. It will help you to maintain the pasta together in a uniform wrap.

About the direction, I recommend you to wind the pastas slowly in the anti-clockwise direction. If you turn in the clockwise way, you may have some spaghetti full of sauce falling from the fork and landing on your chin when you will try to eat them.

The cutting rules

It is totally forbidden and considerate impolite to cut the Spaghetti you have in your plate. It is the same thing as the “Foie Gras” that you should never spread on the bread. It is a rule to know as an educated person.

Do not mistake noodles and Spaghetti. You can’t eat them the same way: never hoover the spaghetti up in your mouth. At the same time, it is not elegant at all and you will project sauce everywhere on your attire. The second thing to never do is to bite the pasta in order to cut them because they are too long.

Dear ladies, gentlemen, children, I hope this article helped you to understand the proper manners to eat Spaghetti in restaurants or in Italy. The thing to think about is to take your time, be delicate and savour your dish.

Follow us for more etiquette articles and class information.

Read More

How to serve wine and champagne properly?

Whether you are dining at a Michelin restaurant or a private banquet, you will choose champagne or wine for your meal. If there is no dedicated sommelier or service staff, we may need to pour for yourself or for others. Therefore, it is very important to master the correct knowledge of wine and wine pouring! Earlier, we have shared knowledge about the opening of wine and champagne. In this issue, we will continue to explain the key points of the wine after opening the bottle!

The Wine
Holding a bottle
First, hold the glass or place the glass on the table.
Avoid: Covering the bottle label when holding the bottle.

Suggestion: Hold the bottle with the hand you are used to, and make sure the label is exposed to ensure that other guests can see it.

Pouring the wine
Avoid: The top of the bottle touching the rim.

Recommendation:

1. The bottle top is located directly above the middle of the glass, and the height is 1-2cm from the glass is the best;
2. The speed of pouring the wine should be moderate. Too slow will cause the liquid to drip over the glass.

Level of serving
Avoid: More than one-half, or overfilling.

Suggestion: pour from 1⁄3 to  1⁄2 of the wine glass, this level guarantees that we have enough space to shake the glass.

When to refill
When the wine in the glass is about to reach the bottom, ask the other person/guest if they need a refill.

The Champagne
Holding a bottle
1 Restaurant serving service: Place the champagne glass on the table;
2 Private Banquet: You can choose to hold a champagne glass.
Avoid: Holding the bottle like it’s a wine bottle.
Recommendation: The thumb is in the bottom of the bottle and holds the bottle with the palm of your hand.

Pouring the champagne
The way to pour the champagne depends on how the champagne glass is placed.
1. If placed on the table horizontally:
When the restaurant or hotel service staff pours champagne, the cup is usually placed on the table. If the cup is on the table, you need to pour twice. For the first time, the bubbles overflowed the cup. Wait a moment until the bubbles fall and then pour again. When pouring champagne, slowly along the side of the glass, you can reduce the generation of bubbles.

2. If holding a champagne glass:
You need to tilt the glass at 45 degrees. Pour the champagne along one side of the glass while slowly straightening the cup. Holding a glass of champagne can effectively control the generation of bubbles.

Level of serving
Avoid: less than half  of the glass
Suggestion: Not less than 1⁄2 and more than  3⁄4 of the champagne glass

When to refill
When the level of the champagne is less than one-third, you can refill!

This article was first published by Michelin Guide.

Follow us for more articles

Read More

Why Chinese teacups have no handles

Dear ladies and gentlemen, some of you may wonder: why the traditional Chinese teacup has no handle while the European teacup does? Do you know where the difference comes from? Today, I will introduce you the story behind, and also some etiquette rules you should know about tea.

Chinese Anti-scalding Design
Chinese teacups are usually made of porcelain, and the shape without handles is more convenient both for production and transportation. And there are specific temperatures for brewing certain tea. In this case, a cup with no handle allows people to hold it with hands and feel the temperature by themselves. However, Chinese still have two special designs for the anti-scalding purpose.

1. Pair the cup with cover and saucer, so you don’t have to hold the body of the cup with hands directly but hold the saucer instead.

2. The bottom edges of the cup and the saucer are wider. And the edge serves as a stand to support the body of the cup and also prevents the direct physical contact.

What do the Europeans do to avoid scalding?
However in Europe, almost all sorts of cups in Europe were made of metals (silver or tin), and most of them are with handles. Because the thermal conductivity of metals is much better than any other materials, so it is impossible to use them for hot beverages. So how do they manage to drink hot tea without hurting themselves? They also had two ways:

1. In the 17th century, they imported Chinese teacups, which had no handle but with saucers. However, Europeans at that time knew nothing about the way how Chinese way of drinking. So they would hold the saucer with one hand, with the other hand to pinch the edge of the cup, take a sip very quickly and then put it back to the saucer.Even though they were scalded, they would never say it and would remain calm on their surface to stay elegant.

2. They got inspiration from their milk cup and wanted to produce their own teacups with handles to avoid the risk of scalding. And finally in the 18th century, they were able to do it after they discovered the secrets of porcelain.

Drinking habits
Chinese way of drinking is more of tasting: take the saucer with cup together, open the cover a bit but still press it against the cup; take a sip and then put it back onto the table.

European afternoon tea is usually a social event between nobles. And most Europeans are fond of sweets so that they will add sugar and milk into the hot tea. In order to cool the tea, they would pour it into the saucer, and then drink it afterwards with it. Later in the 19th century, people from high society abandoned drinking from the saucer, because they think it was vulgar and inappropriate to do so in public.

Etiquette rules for drinking tea

No matter you are in China or in Europe, there are some common rules you should follow when drinking tea:
Don’t make any noise when drinking.
And don’t drink like a fish but take small sips instead.
The spoon for European afternoon tea is for stirring the tea, not for drinking.
You cannot fill the whole cup with tea, otherwise the liquid would spill out and your guests would easily get scalded.
You could enjoy some pastries when drinking tea but never eat and drink at the same time using both hands.

Do you prefer to use the cups with handles or without handles? What else do you know about drinking tea?

Follow us on WeChat for more etiquette articles

Read More

All things to know about bread

 

Dear ladies, gentlemen and children, nowadays you can easily find bread anywhere you go, savoury or sweet or even in different shapes, it is an aliment that fits everyone’s tastes. Where the bread originates from? Do you want to know about some interesting stories and table manners about bread? Let’s discover together!

Egypt
It is often being said that Egyptians invented bread in 3000 BC. We suppose that bread was created by accident, by mixing crushed or ground grains with water from the Nile, very rich in silt containing fermentation agents. Egyptians somehow put the fermented mixture in the oven then made the first bread in the world.


Egyptian baker making his bread

Let’s review some bread etiquette rules
The bread plate should be on the top left side of the main plate.

The proper cutlery for serving bread is a serrated bread knife. With sharp serrations, this knife cut the bread neatly while preserving its airiness.

You use a butter knife, like this one on the left, to cut off small butter cubes. You can also spread the butter with this knife.

Bread shouldn’t be cut with a knife but we use our hands to tear small pieces but always one at a time.

Use two fingers to break soft bread or breadsticks. For greasy bread like croutons, use a spoon especially when they are served over a soup.

You should avoid tearing pieces of bread with your teeth!

Having the fork in the left hand and a piece of bread in the right hand to push the food is a French method, but seen as very «middle-class», to avoid when you are invited or during formal meals, but you can keep with your close family.
In formal occasions, if the bread is served with olive oil or vinegar, each person should have his/her own plate for dipping.

Last but not least, we don’t use the bread to make sandwiches: we don’t stuff it with butter
or food, but we put a knob of butter and spread if wanted.


Click here to check out more about bread manners

Fun facts about bread
One ancient Egyptian way of baking the bread dough was to use a clay oven elevated with legs.


Portable oven (ἰπνός /ipnos) from 17th c. BC

It is believed that bread should always be in an upright position otherwise it will bring the Devil in the house.

One of the versions stating the origin of French baguette to the time of Napoleon. During the battles, bakers changed the traditional round shape to a longer shape so soldiers could carry them easily in a back pocket of their outfit.

The bread is so hard when dried out. In mediaeval, people use dry bread as plates or even containers for soup.

The caramel colour and aroma of bread are products of the maillard reaction: sugar reacts with an amino acid under high temperature.
The same reaction happens in a barbecue which makes meat mouth-watering.

Germany is the country having the most varied bread in the world, with more than 300 basic types and more than 1000 types of bread rolls and pastries.

Dear all, which type of bread is your favourite? Mine is of course:french baguette. Please share with me in the comments!

Follow us on WeChat for more etiquette articles

Read More

How to prepare a great menu for a formal dinner

Dear ladies and gentlemen, spring is in the air! People step out and get together more often. If you are planning to host a formal western dinner but wondering how to prepare the menu, then these tips can definitely help you impress your guests.

A typical continental menu includes these parts:

Apéritif
If it is a French-style dinner or your guests have the habit to have a small drink before eating, the menu can start with alcoholic beverages.
You can choose from common Apéritifs like Vermouth, Campari, Dubonnett and Sherry. Sparkling wine and cocktails can also be good.
Apéritif should be dry in order to stimulate the appetite, try to avoid drinks which taste too sweet.

Appetizers
If there is no Apéritif, you can start the menu with appetizers. This first course of the meal usually consists of a small amount of food.
Seafood like smoked salmon and shrimps are often seen in appetizers. Oysters are also a good choice if it is the right season. Seafood is better served with a lighter white wine such as Chablis or Sauvignon Blanc.
Foie gras or red meat appetizers can be served with red wines like merlot or chardonnay.

Soup
Soup can vary. Normally seen are roasted onion soup, cream of mushroom soup and borsch. Hot bisque or chilli soup can quickly warm up your guests.
You can also try Curry soup or Tom Yum soup to add some exotic flavours, just make sure that your guests can accept that and that the taste is harmonious with the rest of the courses.

Main Course
The main course is the most anticipated part of a meal. It is usually a well-cooked meat course. Beef, Lamb, Pork and poultry are often prepared in different ways as the main course. On the side are a small amount of vegetables and staple food.
If the main course is rather heavy, crunchy vegetables like asparagus broccoli can reduce the greasiness. Seasoned or creamed side dishes will bring more tastes if the meat is lighter.
You can also make fish as the main course or prepare a fish dish before a meat dish. Again please prepare the right kind of table wine to go with the dish. A simple rule is that red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat.
Sometimes food like pasta or risotto can also be offered as the main course, you can check with your guests what do they want and prepare accordingly.

Dessert
There are also many options for dessert, ice cream or cakes can be served if you have no better idea.
If time permits, prepare a dessert of the same style as the main course. If it is French, a Crème brûlée will be on point; if it is Italian, maybe a pannacotta or a tiramisu will do good.

Drinks
At the end of the meal, offer some nice drinks. Coffee and tea are a safe option. Prepare espresso, black coffee and some black tea, provide some milk and sugar too.
In case your guests would like to have some digestif, you can offer them some brandy, whisky or liqueur.

Dear ladies and gentlemen, now you know about what makes the menu of a western-style dinner. If you are curious about the cutleries or the table manner, please check our previous articles or just leave us a comment!
Cutlery Usage
Wine Choice

Follow us on WeChat for more etiquette articles

Read More