My friends are women I trust, confide in and love like they’re family. They’re my support system and I just wouldn’t imagine my life without them. Before moving I was nervous about leaving my family and friends, learning a new language and adapting to new culture but I was mostly terrified that I wouldn’t make any friends. I was told that French women are scary and I convinced myself that other American/foreign women that lived here would be too cool and would want nothing to do with me.
I was afraid that I would be lonely, feel guilty and regret my decision to move. Luckily, I was wrong.
After my move, I made it a pointed effort to meet new people, form new friendships and allow different people into my life. Like everything in Paris, building my social circle wasn’t easy. With some friends, we hit it off immediately and were thick as thieves almost instantly. With others, it took some time to nurture the relationship and many didn’t last beyond one drink because it was clear that a friendship probably wouldn’t work.
Making my own friends was very important to me because I needed to build a life here that was just mine. I needed my own circle, my own inside jokes, my own people to go on long weekend trips with. I didn’t want my ex-partner to be my only friend here. I didn’t want to feel dependent on him and as a result him to feel pressure to be my everything.
Most of my friendships here began, and sustained themselves, over apéros, or an aperitif, which is an early evening drink that is enjoyed before dinner. It is meant to open your appetite for that delicious confit de canard or sole meunière that is waiting for you at home or at your favorite restaurant. It is also a very low risk engagement because if after one hour you’re bored out of your mind, you can use your dinner plans as an excuse to burst out of there.
My early apéros gave me the chance to meet women that had stories similar to mine (foreign women living in Paris) and break through to the mysterious Parisienne. Over these apéros we shared our fears, wishes, desires, past stories, goals and when our respective partners got on our nerves. The more apéros I had the more I realized that Parisienne’s are just like all other women except they really do have this je ne sais quoi and I finally felt confident that I would make friends here.
The classic apéro usually consists of just wine and olives or wine and chips, but there is the next level of apéro which is an apéro dinatoire. An apéro dinatoire is a more elaborate affair. An apéro dinatoire is a replacement of dinner because it includes real food, appetizer type food, but real food nevertheless. For an apéro dinatoire, which is a more elaborate affair and a personal favorite, you will need the following:
Saussion or dried meat
Cheese (at least one hard and one soft)
Butter (for the bread)
Smoked fish (usually salmon)
These are just the basic ingredients but you can also get a bit fancier and make stuffed mushrooms, deviled eggs, etc. As long as everything you’re proposing is finger food, you’ve got yourself an apéro.
In the apéro that I prepare for this episode, I used the following:
3 different types of dried meat: jamon serrano, coppa and chorizo (extra spicy)
4 different types of cheeses: brie with truffle, mimolette, goat with herbs and peppercorn and another goat with rosemary
Hummus (Tarama is also a very popular apéro dip here)
Strawberries and red grapes
Baby tomatoes and baby carrots
After you’ve washed everything that needs a quick rinse (the veggies), you simply arrange all the ingredients and have a sip of wine (and sneak a bite or two) while you wait for your guests to arrive.
The Apéroship Playlist .
Everyone that knows me knows that I'm a huge fan of 90s dance music ( HELLO ALICE DEEJAY), which you'll soon find out as you progress in the play list. If I'm hosting an apéro chez moi there is some point in the night where that type of music will be on and my girlfriends have no choice but to dance. :)