Is It Cheese Before or After Dessert?


(Helen Aurelius-Haddock) #1

It’s the eternal Anglo-French dilemma, and one us expat British have to reconcile.
Ever the eternal coward, I serve it after to British guests and before for French. If there is a mix, I serve one or the other.
Tim Hayward, of the Guardian Word of Mouth blog started up the debate yesterday and has nigh on 200 hundred comments to date. So, what do you think?



(Angela Alcorn) #2

I always screw up the order of the cheese/dessert thing. Can’t serve food without ruining the plan for someone. :slight_smile:

As for aperos - I always try to eat a sandwich first if I don’t know… or keep a muesli bar in my bag if I don’t have time for a sandwich first.


(Suzie Blackman) #3

Thanks for this - at least that puts the whole business into some sort of framework especially the 8pm exit guideline. And whilst on the subject of Satre :

To do is to be - Satre
To be is to do - Aristotle
Do be do be do - Sinatre

Probably misquoted the first two, but it goes something like that.


(Catharine Higginson) #4

I have an overwhelming urge to wreak revenge on all those hosts who have made me suffer dreadful aperos by inviting them round and serving bizarre ‘Del Boy’ style cocktails…With a cherry on the top.

The guys are normally ok but us ladeez seem to get offered sweet white wine or some disgusting concoctions.

If you ask for a glass of red, they look askance and if you ask for a beer, they look knowingly at each other and wait for you to get trolleyed, dance on the table and flash your boobies before demanding a kebab.

Ah - le binge drinking…


(Sarah Hague) #5

Oh yes, you’ve hit a nail on the head there!

When you get invited to an apero dinatoire you know where you are cos you’ll get lots of substantial snacks - bits of pizza, quiche, crudites and dips, ‘toasts’ and so on. You can easily eat enough bits and bobs although for those who like to sit and eat a plateful of meat and veg it’s a bit off-putting.

For the rest, you just have to cross your fingers. Or ask first if you know the person well enough. Apero ou apero dinatoire? Sometimes it’s a spontaneous event and people who are having a good time want to continue so call for a pizza.

Otherwise you’re out of luck, the host isn’t hungry, you get a peanut and a couple of crisps and the guests are sitting discussing Sartre until 1am without the rumbling of a tummy to be heard. If no food is on offer it may be cos the host wants you out by 8, in which case at 8 you say you’re off and then they might start discussing food.


(Suzie Blackman) #6

I think what causes us more of a problem is the French Apéritif conundrum. When gets asked round for apéritifs not dinner but you turn up to a strange assortment of drinks and wall to wall canapé and snackettes which seem to last all evening - absolutely delightful. But I never know whether or not to feed my hard working hubby before or after and sometimes the after can be really quite late and also possibly a health and safety issue to embark on a cooking activity involving sharp knives and live flames when one is “ever-so-shlightly-tiddley-pom!”

To add to this confusion some French chums kind of do it small and other do it large so one never knows.


(Sarah Hague) #7

Sounds good to me, Suzie. Why stand on ceremony when you can just chill and have a good time. Live and let live, I say!

Cheese when you want, drink whatever colour wine with whatever you want!


(Helen Aurelius-Haddock) #8

You’re a girl after my own heart - you just like an easy life!


(Suzie Blackman) #9

Being a Cheese-o-phile both would sound good to me :slight_smile: But I usually serve it before although sometimes if there’s a good Port on offer after - just depends on the meal the chums round the table and just how the evening is panning out and sometimes I’ll bring the dessert and cheese to the table together and let people sort themselves out - I think we can safely say I haven’t got a hard and fast rule :slight_smile: