L’apéritif

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Everyone takes part in l’heure de l’apéritif, the winding-down period when, sitting outside, in the garden, under a tree, by the barbecue, in the yard, or even in the street if necessary, one mulls over the day with family and friends in the clear evening air – away from the cities, even on a warm evening, Languedoc air is as clear and delicious as spring water.

Apéro is short for apéritif, and to invite someone for l’apéro or l’apéritif may mean different things, from Spanish-style tapas to accompany the sunset glass of wine, snacks with drinks in a café and so on – or, if it is an invitation from people like Françoise and Lionel Raviat, a huge and never-ending procession of home-made and toothsome things to eat, starting with foie gras on toasted pain de campagne, a big plate of jambon cru, wild mushrooms in a quiche straight from the oven, some spicy merguez and other sausages on the outside grill and, the final coup, le Vieux Garçon – a jar filled with different fruits preserved in alcohol and sugar. You keep putting more fruit in as the season goes forward and eventually take the liqueur off and drink it.