Monday, July 15, 2013
With each meal, comes the preparation and timing of each course. A course, simply put is part of a meal, in a particular order. In America, certain restaurants provide five or seven course meals, in Italy, it's five, but with many different elements throughout and in France, there are seventeen!!! Yes, 17 different courses to one meal!!! (fancy ones at least) Each item(s) comes at the time, you have a period of time to finish that, then, you're cleared, reset, then, on to the next part of your meal. It's an experience when you're dining with friends and family, so, these courses not only fill your body, but enjoying them in moderation with ones you love fills your soul.
First Course: Generally an APPETIZER. The French term we've grown to use in America Hors D'oeuvre, and Italian antipasto. This course is more of a "teaser" rather than a "full" item. Shrimp cocktail, oysters on the half shell, caviar, or a simple dip can be served in this course.
Second Course: SOUP or POTAGE'. In Italy, this course is a pasta dish of some sort. Pasta is not the main course in an Italian dinner.
Third Course: SALAD in America this course is the course that is served right before your Interim or Amuse', but French courses have three courses between this and the Amuse'. Italians usually have a SECONDO,a main dish composed of either fish, meat, or chicken. This course is usually smaller if there was a heavier, cream-based dish that proceeded this course.
Fourth Course: AMUSE or a sorbet of some sort to cleanse the palate.
Fifth Course: Meat dish (Mainly Poultry) is served
Sixth Course: Meat Dish (Red Meat or Fish can be served during this time) A CONTORNO is the Italian course that is served after the Secondo, which contains platters of vegetables. During this course you enjoy and savor the vegetables being the highlight of this course.
Seventh Course: DESSERT Italian for DOLCE'. Italians and Americans eat their sweets at the end of their meal, along with an espresso or a coffee drink following. Some adults like to partake on an alcoholic after dinner drink. Great alcohol drinks are cognacs (that pair really well with chocolate), scotch (that also pairs well with chocolates and some berry dishes) and rum (that are the bridge between the sweets and savory desserts such as salty caramels, berry dishes as well as white and dark chocolate).
In France, we'd be missing at least ten other courses that includes two more meat courses, a chilled meat course, a bean course, cheese, chilled desserts, hot desserts, then cafe drinks. Dining out or entertaining friends with an elegant dinner party, can require you to set out many courses. Don't stress!! Make what you (and your friends) like and time it the way you would want to eat. Pair the courses with an excellent vintage and always remember to savor each Tasty Bite!! :)
Chef Tara L. Browning
P.S.- Here's a link provided below for fine dining rules/etiquette!!! Enjoy!