Friday, July 8, 2011

Favorite French Things Friday - Café!

One of many "Café crèmes" (kuh-fay khremm) ordered by "moi" (me) in France!

The first time I traveled to France, I had the luxury of having MDD living and going to University in Nice.  Because of her, I had my own personal interpreter and spokesperson by my side.  She also gave me advice on how and what to order in restaurants and cafes.

I am a coffee lover and, over the years, have gotten accustomed to stronger and stronger coffee but am still not a lover of what we, in the U.S., call "Expresso."

If you sit down in a café in France and order a cup of coffee the waiter will serve you a café noir or a café express which is a small expresso-sized cup of very dark, strong expresso coffee with a couple cubes of sugar on the side.  It will not be your typical American coffee made by combining "one heaping tablespoon of your favorite blend of coffee with 8 ounces of cold water."

MDD advised me to order "un Café Americana s'il vous plaît"  (a cup of American coffee, please.) This is filtered coffee similar to traditional American coffee.

This past trip, by mistake I ordered a Café crème (kuh-fay khremm) which is coffee served in a large cup with hot cream.  It quickly became my "usual."

Here are a few other ways to order French coffee:

  • Café au lait (kuh-fay oh-lay) is a popular French coffee style that has become popular in America. In France, this is simply coffee with steamed milk. You will sometimes get the coffee served in one pot or in the cup, and a pitcher of steamed milk to pour in as your personal taste prefers.

  • Café Décafféiné (kuh-fay day-kah-fay-uhn-ay) is decaffeinated coffee. You may still need to tell the waiter that you want milk (lait) or cream (crème) with your coffee.

  • Café Noisette (kuh-fay nwah-zett) is espresso with a dollop of cream in it.

  • Café Léger (kuh-fay lay-zjay) is espresso with double the water.

  • Café Allongé (ah-lohn-ZHAY, "extended" coffee), espresso served with a small pitcher of hot water so that you can dilute the coffee to your preferred strength.

  • Cappuccino, espresso coffee and steam-foamed milk with a sprinkle of cinnamon, powdered or shaved chocolate, atop the foam.

Whatever coffee drink you end up ordering in France, take the time to ENJOY it.  Sit at a little outdoor café, take a few deep breaths, remind yourself that you are allowed to relax, and sip your coffee while taking in the beauty around you and people watching.  This is one of my favorite memories of France. Maybe I'm easily entertained but I was perfectly content to simply sit and drink coffee.

Au revoir, Mitty

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