The course is known as the amuse bouche, which translates literally to, ‘the happy mouth’. Years ago, before the advent of desktop publishing and cheap menu design all menus were written on chalkboards. There was a particular street in Paris that was known for having the best restaurants and when a new chef opened up a restaurant on that street he found that people would walk right by his chalkboard and go to the more well-known chef’s restaurants. One night out of sheer desperation he prepared a tray of bite sized snacks and stood outside handing them out. Once people tasted his food and got the “happy mouth,” they started lining up to get in. Seeing this the other chefs began to do the same thing and people would stroll up the street and try each chefs offering and dine where they liked ‘the amuse’ the best. It became part of the culture.
Those days are gone, and everyone is in a hurry now, but when I’m hosting a dinner party, I will tell this story and present an amuse myself. Whatever you do it should be no more than one small bite, and preferably not overly complicated. Here is my favorite amuse bouche that I will prep right before my guests arrive:
- I will take a potato peeler and peel off a swath of Parmesan Reggiano and place it in the middle of a small plate,
- I will then lightly drizzle the cheese with some truffle honey.
- The amuse bouche course should be served as soon as your guests are seated and can be eaten with the fingers or a fork.
GM Vine & Table