apéritif / apéro dînatoire

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by bb-bas, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. bb-bas Senior Member

    another French concept:
    how to translate "apéritif dinnatoîre"??? - more and more people seem to invite guests for this sort of "drink" - in fact you serve drinks and food, but not "officially" at the table , so everybody sits and talks, nobody serving, you just eat lots of different things, easy to serve without plates and so on.....
    This can last till late at night........................:confused:
  2. SteveD

    SteveD Senior Member

    Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium
    British English
    Maybe "Drinks and finger-food" (not very elegant-sounding in my opinion, though).
  3. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    Drinks and Buffet dinner
  4. bb-bas Senior Member

    you are the chmpions:)))))
    Thank you!
  5. Emma_Lee Senior Member

    English U.S.A.
    Sounds like a "cocktail party" to me...
    Of course a "cocktail party" doesn't, by definition, serve food, but they always do have food (if people are going to be drinking all night, you need food!), and the food is generally things that are easy to eat without plates, knives & forks, etc.
  6. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    Yes, but you don't find cocktails served at these in France. Just good wine.
  7. xiancee

    xiancee Senior Member

    "wine and cheese " party?
    Usually you have more than cheese
    I remember using " extended apéritif" but it's not "official"
  8. slowpoke Member

    My suggestions is "Drinks and hors d'oeuvres". It is a more elegant way to say drinks and finger foods, (which is a good suggestion) and it is a better description than "buffet" which, in the U.S. at least, suggests a more substantial meal.
  9. Smažený Sýr New Member

    If we could bat this around again, but as a cookbook title (plural, Apéritifs dînatoires), I'd be grateful for suggestions for the translated title. So far I have

    Cocktail Party
    Finger-Food Buffet
    Buffet Dinner Party

    The one complication is that the book includes a sizeable section of desserts, which none of the three options I mentioned really serves. If you find any of those appropriate, or can recommend your own, many thanks.
  10. braveheidi Senior Member

    French - Switzerland
    Well when you add up everything you have eaten in an "apéritif dînatoire", you end up having eaten a very large meal !
    In French, we also use the word "buffet" but when we use it, it usually implies that you have a place to sit (a chair per person) which is not at all garanteed in a "apéritif dînatoire" even though you spend about as much time and eat about as much as in an ordinary buffet.
    Aperitif dînatoire is very posh.... and quite uncomfortable !
  11. braveheidi Senior Member

    French - Switzerland
    cocktail party doesn't fit because there generally isn't any coktails served (but wine, fruit juice, sometimes champagne or beer)
    finger-food buffet isn't good either because the food you get in an "apéritif dînatoire" is usually quite elaborate. If there is just a few things to nibble, we don't use "apéritif dînatoire" but just "apéritif".
  12. Souxie

    Souxie Senior Member

    South of France
    French - France
    Dans mon entourage les apéritifs dinatoires sont trés répandus et peuvent se tenir à deux.
    C'est alors un intermédiaire entre un dîner (avec un ordre formel de service: entrée - plat - fromage et salade - dessert - café + vins ou champagne) et un apéritif (sans ordre de service, tout est sur la table: beaucoup de petites choses à grignoter qui n'ont pas nécéssité de cuisine pour la plupart - pizzas, cakes salés, fromages, fruits, chocolats, tout dépend du goût de chacun, il n'y a pas de règle).

    Dans le cas de l'apéritif dinatoire tel que je le connais depuis longtemps, chacun peut boire de la bière tout le long de la soirée, ou du whisky ou ce qu'il veut. En général on est confortablement assis dans le salon, sur la terrasse, dans la salle à manger ou dans la cuisine. C'est donc une façon de se retrouver ensemble pour la soirée et de ne pas se soumettre aux règles formelles d'un dîner. J'ai des amis qui adorent ça car cela leur évite de devoir manger de tous les plats lorsqu'ils sont invités, ou de cuisiner pendant des heures lorsqu'ils invitent.
  13. braveheidi Senior Member

    French - Switzerland
    Visiblement, les pratiques divergent. Ici en Suisse, on ne parlerait pas d'apéritif dînatoire mais de buffet entre amis. Les apéritifs dînatoires auxquels je suis allée étaient beaucoup plus formels et avaient lieu dans un restaurant.
  14. MarlowW New Member

    In California, we often talk about having an appetizer party. I think this would be the equivalent of apero dinatoire -- at least out here. I started looking at this thread trying to understand what a "Coffret apero dinatoire" is advertised by FNAC. I love it and must have one.
  15. bb-bas Senior Member

    Sounds Ok to me! Thank you:)
  16. temple09 Senior Member

    English - British
    Apéritif dinatoire was the phrase that was suggested to me when I asked what is the French version of "drinks and nibbles". This may be less formal than what has been suggested here as the form of apéritif dinatoire. I went to a friend's for some drinks and nibbles would imply that the speaker went to a very informal evening where alcohol was available as well as things such as crisps, cakes, nuts, sweets etc.
  17. bb-bas Senior Member

    Well, this is "apéritif" in France......
  18. temple09 Senior Member

    English - British
    Really? I know that apéritif (or apéro) in France is the name given to an informal meeting chez quelqu'un, perhaps after work, or to begin an evening of socialising/partying etc.
    The word "aperitif" is used in English, however it is simply the name for a drink that one has before dinner, perhaps in a restaurant (a pernod or a pastis for example).
    The notion of "drinks and nibbles" implies that this is the sole purpose of the evening, and that people will not be going anywhere else, other than home when they are finished. It is less formal than a sit down meal, but allows guests to have things to eat throughout the evening.
    In other words - it doesn't begin the evening - it is the evening.
  19. bb-bas Senior Member

    :) Well, for me there are 2 different possibilities for "apéritif":
    - a drink itself
    - apéritif at home: drinks and something to "grignoter"(nibble) (crisps, nuts, etc...) - can be served before a sit down meal, or just such as;
    but if it is not served with something more "nourishing" (different dishes, served around a coffee table for example, I mean really NOT FORMAL, and not in a rigid order: starters, main course etc..) when it becomes "apéritif dînatoire".... Anyway, that's how it is practiced around me:)
    In a restaurant "apéritif" is usually only a drink, still it depends on restaurants, it is often served with something to nibble (olives, "verrines"...
  20. MarlowW New Member

    My experience in France with "the aperitif" in somebody's home is that it is one or two drinks and maybe a couple of "nibblies," but usually just one to go with the liquor that is served. If you are staying for dinner, then you proceed to the dinner table. If you have been invited just for the aperitif, you leave and are expected to leave and not hang around all night. This aperitif dinatoire seems very different, although I've never been to one, but certainly have gone to these sorts of things here in California. It's more like a party, it lasts longer, and although the "small bites" are small, one can usually make a meal of them.
  21. bb-bas Senior Member

    Yes!!! you are desrcibing "apéritif"!

    Again: "Apéritif dinatoire" is the mixture of both: drinks and lots of "little somethings" to quote Winnie the Pooh:)) make it last and not get drunk starving:)))
    If you are really curious to see, just stop by when you are in France next time:)))
  22. vegetables Member

    buffet in English is "help yourself" - you do not necessarily need chairs and a table.
  23. bb-bas Senior Member

    But we must be really lazy in France: so we have chairs (armchairs even!) and a table:)
  24. vegetables Member

    Finger food - sounds more like pizza slices and sandwiches
    Buffet sounds a little more upmarket IMHO
  25. MmePitchounette Senior Member

    Sherbrooke, Quebec
    Français, Canada
    Puisque généralement un "apéritif" est pris avant un repas, est-ce qu'on ne pourrait pas aussi appeler ça un "5 à 7" en français?
  26. bb-bas Senior Member

    Pour moi "5 à 7" a un contexte assez différent:)....- je n'ai pas encore entendu cette expression utilisée pour un apéro:) qu'en pensent les autres?:)
  27. MmePitchounette Senior Member

    Sherbrooke, Quebec
    Français, Canada
    Je crois que c'est une expression purement du Québec!
  28. lamy08 Senior Member

    J'entends souvent parler de 'walking dinner' pour désigner ce genre de buffet. Cela m'étonne qu'on ne l'ait pas encore proposé.
  29. braveheidi Senior Member

    French - Switzerland
    Also my experience of the context we use "aperitif" in the French speaking part of Switzerland. We speak of "buffet" when the food offered is more plentiful and the evening long. As I said, we use "apéritif dînatoire" in more formal contexts, which doesn't seem to be the case in France.
  30. nomio New Member

    "apéritif dinnatoîre" It means cocktail reception in french.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2011
  31. Embonpoint Senior Member

    Another possibly useful term is "reception." This often involves a good number of guests and may be formal ie. with servers, but not necessarily. At a reception I expect to be served wine, maybe cocktails. Food can be buffet style or served by roving waiters. In general a reception lasts a couple hours and includes appetizers and light foods. It is often enough for dinner. You eat standing or sitting on sofas/chairs.
  32. Embonpoint Senior Member

    I have never heard that. Is it British? Useful term for sure, but would have confused me if I'd heard it. I would think we were going out for a walk around the block and bringing dinner with us!

    Thinking more about real-life examples in which I have been thrown or been invited to this type of dinner, I have a few more thoughts. First, if the meal is substantial, I would call it a buffet dinner, as mentioned above, or a light dinner if it is a cross between appetizers and a real meal. Please note that neither of these terms carries any implication about the seating arrangement. In my circle of friends, whether the dinner table is used or not depends largely on how many people are attending. No one I know feels the need to specify in advance if we will be sitting at a real table or not; I've been disappointed more than a few times to find myself standing and balancing my dinner plate on my hand.

    As a real-life example, I was invited to an event such as you describe just last week. It was called a get-together. This is a very non-specific term which can mean any gathering. My friends commonly use it to mean apéro dînatoire.

    Also, to respond to the comment above, in AE at least, finger food is not downmarket. It means food that you don't need a fork and knife to eat but it can be quite elegant--and often is. If I go to an event where finger food is advertised, I do not expect pizza. I expect crackers with expensive salmon and dill garnish, tiny cocktail franks in pastry dough, cucumber sandwiches, miniature individual-sized quiches, filo triangles with mushroom duxelle in them etc.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
  33. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)

    Reception is what they call the event. What they serve there is often called heavy hors d'oeuvres in AE!
  34. Jean-Michel Carrère Senior Member

    French from France
    "drinks and finger food" may not sound very elegant, but it describes "apéritif dînatoire" to a T.
  35. Aoyama Senior Member

    川崎市、巴里 (黎)
    français Clodoaldien
    Le mot "dinatoire" est un mot assez snob (et je ne crois pas qu'il vienne du Québec comme dit plus haut). Je n'ai jamais entendu "apéritif dinatoire" (mais c'est fort possible), j'ai par contre entendu, en jargon d'agent immobilier "cuisine dinatoire" (sic), ce que moi j'appellerais plus prosaïquement "cuisine-salle à manger" ...
  36. dpdapper Member

    Just received a note from a neighbor here in the South of France inviting us to an "apéro dînatoire" and this was the first time I'd heard a name put to the "all-evening drinks and nibbles"-type event described above that we have attended at other neighbors' homes here. At least now I know what to call it! I have in fact found the apéro dînatoire to be fairly formal in the way it unfolds: salty nibbles (chips, nuts, olives) followed by more substantial bits (small quiches, etc.) followed by sweets.

    However, I really don't think there is an equivalent in the US--at least not in California where I'm from (I guess MarlowW and I don't frequent the same parties!). I do think that "drinks and finger foods" or "drinks and small bites" come the closest to describing the "apéro dînatoire" concept as I've experienced it in France.
  37. Embonpoint Senior Member

    Another idea here is "tapas" which denotes small plates of things, usually consumed with alcohol.
  38. MmePitchounette Senior Member

    Sherbrooke, Quebec
    Français, Canada
  39. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)

    Cocktail dinner me donne l'impression qu'on se met à table pour dîner après l'apéritif. Je pense que cocktail buffet rend mieux l'idée… qu'on mange de petits trucs qui accompagnent les cocktails.
  40. franc 91 Senior Member

    English - GB
    A cocktail dinner looks good - friends of mine use the term - apéritif dinatoire - not at all in a snobbish way, more self-mockingly than anything else, because they enjoy putting it all together and not having to spend the whole evening running around serving it. I've had a look and in Paris, expats call it a soirée -

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