By Ian Mitchell, writing from the South of France.
"It's all about food" - all about drink, alcoholic or not, all about "gourmandisme" a French word in origin, often confused. Gourmand means glutton, therefore gourmandise means gluttony!
Gourmet means "selective" - indeed "knowledgeably selective" not only in food and drink, but in general!"
"Just as a start point, I'm going to give you the menu I prepared and served to my guests last weekend. The idea is to give you an insight as to the sort of table I like to try and present to my guests, for whom I (as host) am responsible, in all senses - from their arrival.
They should feel welcome, at their ease, they should have some nice odours to welcome them, and they should be aware that they can eat or drink whatever they wish - there is no MUST....!
Maybe, before continuing, I should add that my region of France, being the South, is very particular in it's dishes, and échalote and garlic are extremely important, and consumed in enormous quantities. If you're ever there, don't be scared of eating garlic, it is rarely overwhelming with these dishes, and nobody is going to look at you in horror or move away from you in the bus/train/plane!"
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