In France, we love inviting friends or close neighbours over for a « café ». I personally use the word « goûter » even though it may sound a little childish. Indeed, a « goûter » in France is a snack you give French children just right after school (around 4.30 pm) and before dinner.
But I think it is the perfect word for coffee or tea and a good piece of cake, whether it sounds old-fashioned or not. And it is also a lovely way to invite people without putting too much pressure on yourself. It is not as constraining as a formal lunch or dinner and therefore you tend to invite guests more often.
A important rule is to play with the seasons and serve your guests good local produce. In Summer, you can serve a fruit cake with jam you’ve made from your garden (we did quite a lot of jam this year with our blackberries, raspberries and red currants). I also like to serve a blackberry crumble with heavy whipped cream and a blackberry sorbet made by a local farm. It is delicious, simple and it really feels like you are embracing Summer.
For this table setting, the focus has been put on different patterns, combining pink and white to create a vintage countryside atmosphere. A place where, I could picture Anne Shirley having tea with Diana Barry. I’ve used Gien plates here, as well as the serving plate and « vase » from their collaboration with Parisian brand Antoinette Poisson.
Most of us do not always have time to entertain at home so the idea of having a simple goûter is the perfect compromise if you want to really spend some time with your guests and not in the kitchen. In France, we usually serve sweet snacks for a goûter but you can make it your own and add a few mini-sandwiches (in true English teatime style) which are also always very welcome!