The magical hour between the end of work and dinnertime may not strike the average Hongkonger as particularly meaningful, but the French have been enjoying it as apéro for as long as one can remember, a French evening ritual that combines apéritifs with small plates, slowing down, and catching up with friends. It’s a time-honoured tradition, so much so that you can invite guests over just for apéro and then say goodbye when it’s time for dinner!
Centred around the idea of spending time together with friends and family as you get your palate ready for dinner, it’s an activity that anyone can incorporate into their daily lives, especially to encourage winding down after a long day and creating a habit of stepping away from our work. Here’s how to have your own French apéro.
After a full day of work, we all wouldn’t mind a drink to wind down and de-stress. As a rule of thumb, try to steer away from anything that is too heavy during apéro to prevent spoiling your appetite before dinner. Be sure to pick something relatively light, such as kir (white wine mixed with blackcurrant liqueur), white wine, rosé, beer, or even sweet wine. Some gin or rum from Distillerie De Paris or light champagne from Champagne Drappier would also suffice. Just try to avoid red wine, since that is more suited for your sit-down meal.
No matter how much you plan on drinking, a traditional apéro isn’t complete without some snacks and bites. Some typical nibbles include olives, nuts, and crackers, but you can always step things up by preparing a platter of charcuterie and cheese with some chips on the side. If you’re feeling generous and fancy, you could even bring out a chunk of delicious pâté to serve to your guests. As long as you don’t have to do any actual cooking for the small plates, anything goes.
We’ve found a one-stop-shop for all of your apéro needs. Founded in 2011 by Maxime Lemaitre, My Market fills a gap in the Hong Kong market for high-quality, imported French goods, geared towards expatriate consumers in the city. For two years, Maxime and his team developed their range of products, now offering more than 300 products and 60 French brands. Among a wide selection of meat, fish, and organic products, you can also find iconic classics from France: wine, cheese, and croissants, to name a few. You can order everything you need on their website in about five minutes and a package will arrive at your doorstep the day after—talk about saving time!
But My Market is much more than just an online supermarket; it also works on several projects and partnerships with different associations to build a strong relationship with its customer base. The team behind My Market recently organised a barbecue on the beach alongside Hong Kong Accueil to welcome newly-arrived expatriates and to promote French meat products, and this is just one of many occasions where you can join in!
New items and brands are constantly being introduced to the shelves throughout the year. Some notable examples include Bam&Co, which offers 100 percent organic biscuits, granola, and crackers, as well as three new beers from Ninkasi—all perfect for apéro! There is also a whole new collection of wine bottles, from Bourgogne Chardonnay to Rosé. Last but not least, Elle&Vire has your back with some new desserts for you to finish the meal on a sweet note.