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Lesson Transcript

If Only for a Moment, Time Stands Still in France!
In this lesson, we’re going to learn about a typical family gathering in France. I’m Becky, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 14 - If Only for a Moment, Time Stands Still in France!
Sunny days are back, and the craving for aperitifs, or apéritifs, is alive and well! Aperitifs are a true pillar of French living—a special moment shared with friends, close relatives, and family. Before the meal, people take a drink (or two) along with little snacks to nibble on. There are even special alcoholic beverages, synonyms of apéritif, such as le pinneau, which is a type of wine made from grape must and cognac, and le muscadet, a French white wine. Other common beverages are le kir, a cocktail made with blackcurrant liqueur and white wine, and le pastis, an anise-flavored spirit.
On the food side, typical snacks include salty peanuts and crackers with bacon, cheese, and spices. You can easily find a full display of them in the market, or in French marché. However, in recent years, with the warnings about obesity, or obésité in French, French people more and more are turning toward less caloric foods. Thus, nowadays you’ll often find vegetables, like radishes, carrots, and cauliflower, dipped in sauces filling central snack locations.
Aperitifs are a privileged moment spent with the people you appreciate. They are a less formal moment where people get comfortable in their living rooms or on the patio, just as summer, or été, is just beginning. People in France look forward to the sensation of taking an aperitif on the patio or in the shade of a tree on a summer evening around seven to seven-thirty when the sun begins to set and the air gets cooler. It’s like a tiny moment of freedom, or in French liberté. Children play in the yard, people quench their thirst, talk about the day, and exchange their latest news.
This moment of leisure can be enjoyed at any time of the year, either at noon or in the evening, whenever time allows. In winter however, people usually take the festivity inside to stay warm. L'apéro literally meaning “the aperitif” can also be taken with friends, in French amis, in a café, when people gather after a work day before going home.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
What is a particular moment you spend with your family or friends?
Until next time!