No matter where you are in the world, if you are trying to order a meal, there is a chance that you will be asked whether you want anything to nibble on whilst you are waiting for your food to arrive. This is called an aperitif, and is something that you will almost certainly have enjoyed at some point in your lifetime. In fact, they have become so common in modern culture that it is often seen as unusual when food isn’t offered before the main course arrives.
The types of food that are offered as aperitifs will vary depending on where you are in the world and the type of cuisine that you are indulging in at the time. In Italy, where a lot of the food includes things like pizza and pasta, it is likely that you would be asked to snack on things like olives or sun dried tomatoes. Usually, when in Italy, this course will happen at around 6pm, and will also include either a cocktail or something bubbly. Whereas dinner can immediately follow this course in many other countries, in Italy it is much more likely that you will eat quite a lot at this point, and then have a break before you have the meal that you have ordered.
In France, a lot of emphasis can be placed on the aperitifs, and one of the reasons for this is because they like to see meal times as more of a social occasion than just the chance to eat some food. Sometimes, you will see a large whisky being serves, alongside foods like crisps, while the conversation continues for a number of hours. It is quite common for this to eventually be the whole meal, with no more food being brought out at all – and guests don’t mind this in the slightest, because they are likely to be much more focussed on the social side of the evening.
In the UK, there isn’t so much of a historical rule when it comes to aperitifs, and the majority of foods eaten here have come from other cultures and influences. It is, however, common to have a glass of wine before a meal while the food is being finished. When you are eating in a restaurant, soup is a popular thing to start with before your main meal arrives, and this can change dramatically depending on what the ingredients are that day. Soup is an incredibly versatile dish, and this is one of the reasons that it is so popular not only in Britain but in the rest of the world.
Aperitifs can be great fun, and if you’re having a dinner party serving food from a particular cuisine, it makes sense to try and emulate their aperitif culture, too, in order to make the evening as authentic as possible. No matter which of the aperitifs you choose, it is certain to give your guests something that they will be able to enjoy before their meal, and this means that they are certain to have an evening to remember.