Le Foodist Paris Cooking Class

How to Dress for a Wine Tasting

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Many who travel to France often do so for its food and wine, and the best way to experience its culinary wonders is through tours and classes. Wine aficionados, therefore, flock to tasting classes and tours of wine country to experience all that the fruit of the vine has to offer in France.

Choosing an experience that's right for you will vary based on your time and budget, but once you pull the trigger on your selected activity, you'll probably still have loads of etiquette questions before you attend the event. One of the most common dilemmas is deciding what to wear, so we've created a brief guide on dressing for your wine tour or tasting.

how should i dress for wine tasting

What to Expect

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In order to adequately dress for the occasion, you need to know what to expect on tours and tastings. Whether you visit wineries in Napa or taste French wines in Paris, you'll need to keep a few common etiquette rules in mind when choosing your outfit:

  • Spitting is Commonwhile you can swallow every glass that you taste, you don't want to be the only drunken taster. Most people will spit onto the floor or into spittoons during the event to keep their wits about them, so dress with potential stains in mind.
  • Outside Scents are Frowned Upon: people want to enjoy the aroma of their wines, so using excessive perfume or after-shave can impact their sense of smell and will likely get you dirty looks.
  • Be Prepared to Buy a Bottle: you will likely buy a few bottles that you like, and at free tastings, doing so is expected. Therefore, you should not weigh yourself down with a giant handbag or heavy jewelry since you'll likely be carrying multiple bottles home.
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How to Dress

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Deciding what to wear to a class, vineyard, or winery can be a difficult choice, but as a general rule, you should do your best to balance style and comfort. Here are a few tips to help you choose the perfect outfit for your excursion to Napa or Champagne.

  • Choose Comfortable Footwear

Whether you're at a class in a cellar or traversing through the vineyards of France, you need to choose shoes that won't kill your feet. Nice sneakers will often suffice for excursions through wine country, and for fancier affairs, you should opt for comfy flats or tried-and-true wedges.

  • Cute and Casual are the Cardinal Rules

In general, unless stated otherwise, you should keep it cute and casual at any event. Outfits like jeans and a fashionable top or a nice sundress ensure that you'll blend in at a nicer affair without looking overdressed if it's casual. 

  • Keep it Light and Layered

Even if you're on a full day trip, you should only bring a small bag, a jacket, and a cardigan if necessary. Whether you're in Burgundy or Napa, you'll likely be walking quite a bit, and you don't want to be bogged down with a gigantic tote bag and heavy jackets.

  • Know the Occasion

Simply put, you're going to dress nicer for an invite-only event than for walking around a festival. Pay attention to stated dress codes as well as other hints like the exclusivity of the event.

For more information, please refer to the following pages:


Read more about our Wine Tasting Classes here

  1. What is a wine dinner?

At its most basic, a wine dinner is a dinner where each course is paired with a particular wine. While each wine dinner varies, a typical wine dinner will contain three to five courses that are pre-selected by a chef, and a sommelier will pair each course with a particular wine. Sometimes, the wines will be chosen specifically to suit the dish while other wine dinners may center on a particular brand or vineyard. Many wine dinners also contain an educational component where a sommelier will tell you about the wine and how it is paired with the food.

Depending on where it is held, a wine dinner may be a formal affair or a more casual gathering. In general, the event will specify the dress code, and even if the event is more casual, you should dress smartly out of respect for the chef(s) and sommelier(s) who host the dinner. You should also take care to avoid wearing light colors in case of spills.

  1. What do you wear to a winery wedding?

If you are invited to a winery wedding, then you should expect the dress code to range from dressy casual to semi-formal unless otherwise specified. For women, most nice cocktail or wedding guest dresses should suffice, or if you prefer to wear pants, a dressy jumpsuit or slacks with a semi-formal blouse can be excellent alternatives. Men should wear either slacks and a blazer or a semi-formal suit, depending on the wedding’s dress code. Regardless of what you choose to wear, you should steer clear of deep reds and burgundies since many winery weddings use these colors in their decor, and you should also avoid light colors in case of spills.

You should also consider that many winery weddings will be at least partially outdoor since part of the winery experience is enjoying the vineyard and surrounding scenery. Therefore, you will want to ensure that your shoes are suitable for walking outdoors, and you should bring an appropriate jacket if necessary. You should also bring other items that you may need at an outdoor venue, such as sunglasses or an umbrella.

  1. Can you get drunk at wine tasting?

While getting drunk is certainly possible at a wine tasting, doing so is not advised. Since you are tasting alcohol, you are inevitably going to get somewhat tipsy during your wine tasting. Wine tasting is meant to be a good time, so it is perfectly fine to be a bit buzzed during the event. However, getting too drunk at a wine tasting is often considered rude. If you are too drunk and rowdy at a tasting, you will likely disturb others in your wine tasting group, and you will not be able to fully enjoy the wines that you are tasting. Therefore, to avoid becoming too drunk while tasting wine, you should eat a full breakfast before tasting and continue to eat throughout the day, and you should only take small sips of wine and use a spittoon to spit some of it out. In general, you will have a much better experience at a wine tasting if you avoid getting too drunk during the event.

  1. Are you supposed to spit out wine at wine tasting?

In order to avoid becoming too drunk at a wine tasting, many tasting experts recommend that you spit out wine as you taste it. As you drink throughout a day of wine tasting, you may become increasingly drunk, which may not bode well for your experience. If you drink a large amount of wine, you may become drunk, which will impair your ability to taste the differences in the wines and to fully enjoy the various fine wines that you taste. Additionally, becoming too drunk at wine tasting is often considered rude, so you should refrain from becoming too drunk or rowdy. Spitting while tasting thus allows you to fully experience the wine without becoming as drunk, which will allow you to taste wine for a longer period of time. If you ask for a spittoon or a spit cup at a winery, they will likely happily oblige, and you will be able to have a better overall wine tasting experience.

  1. Can you wear a T-shirt and jeans to a wine tasting?

In most cases, you should avoid wearing a T-shirt and jeans to a wine tasting - especially in France. In general, you should dress for a wine tasting as you would to go out to a nice restaurant or dinner party unless the venue requires formal attire. Therefore, wine tasters should wear items such as nice sundresses, blouses, slacks, polos, and blazers, and they should present themselves neatly to show respect for the winery. Tasters should also wear comfortable shoes since winery tours and tastings often involve plenty of walking, and they should avoid wearing light colors in case of spills. Dark denim may be acceptable if it is in good condition and paired with a nice top, but you must be careful to avoid looking too casual should you choose to wear jeans. Wine tasters should therefore wear outfits that are smart yet comfortable to ensure that they are fully dressed for the occasion.

  1. Should you wear high heels to a wine tasting?

Although you should dress nicely for a wine tasting, you should avoid wearing high heels. When you tour a winery or vineyard, you will likely walk on grass, cobblestone, and other ground that is not suitable for high heels, and you should expect to walk quite a bit. If a large portion of the tour is outdoors, then your heels may also get dirty. Even if you only partake in the tasting, you will still be on your feet for an extended period of time, and high heels may not be comfortable. Instead of high heels, you should choose shoes that are nice-looking yet comfortable to walk in. A nice pair of flats is always a good choice, and if the event is more formal, you may consider wearing comfortable wedges. Boots can also be acceptable footwear if they are in good condition and if the event is during winter or outdoors.

  1. How formal should you dress for a wine dinner?

The majority of wine dinners will have dress codes that range from business casual to semi-formal, depending on the venue and the occasion. Venue is perhaps the important indicator of how you should dress for a wine dinner. A wine dinner held at a hotel, for instance, will often require cocktail or semi-formal attire, but one held at an outdoor venue will likely only require business or smart casual wear. If your wine dinner will occur at a winery, find out if it will be hosted in a normal tasting room, a dedicated dining room, or an outdoor space. Additionally, if your wine dinner is a part of a special occasion, the dress code will likely be fairly formal. Finally, if you are attending a wine dinner and are unsure of what to wear, it is best to graciously ask your host about the dress code than to show up under- or over-dressed.

  1. What should you never wear to a winery?

When visiting a winery, you should generally avoid clothes that are uncomfortable, high-maintenance, or excessively casual. One of the most common mistakes that people make when visiting wineries is wearing uncomfortable shoes. While you shouldn’t wear sneakers to a winery, you should opt for classy sandals, loafers, or booties over heels or dress shoes. You should also ensure that your outfit won’t be too difficult to maintain throughout the day. A complicated hairstyle, tight-fitting dress, or awkward romper could distract you from your winery experience. Finally, while you should be comfortable in your outfit, you should avoid dressing too casually. Sweats, workout clothing, and T-shirts are never acceptable at a winery, and jeans can only meet the dress code at more casual wineries – and even then, they must be dark, pressed, and well-kept. You should therefore stick to slacks, skirts, and dresses as a general rule, and you should always be presentable when visiting a winery.

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And they do not have to do with what you will find in those markets. They have to do with when you can go shopping there. Open Air markets are only open in the morning. Typically from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. And they are not open every day. As a matter of fact for the vast majority they are open either open every other day (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday or Wednesday, Friday, Sunday), or sometimes only twice a week. 

This is the case of the Bastille Market (Metro Bastille and Metro Bréguet Sabin )which is open only on Thursday and Sunday morning. We like to send people there because it is a very big market with over one hundred vendors. And it has a nice stand of Crêperie in the middle. Here you get a video of a lady preparing a crêpe there; and you can get that crêpe for only 3 Euros!
There is only one Open Air market open every day of the week, it is called Marché Aligre (Metro Ledru Rollin or Metro Faidherbe Chaligny) which happens on the eponymous street. It is an interesting market because you find all kinds of quality in that market – the good, the bad and the ugly. There is also a nice covered market in the middle of it called Marché Beauveau – sometimes called Marché Beauveau Aligre. On the contrary, Covered Markets are open every day, and not just in the morning, but also in the late afternoon. Typically from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

We are blessed with two markets close to where Le Foodist is located, so we can walk to a market every morning – sometimes it is the Maubert market, and sometimes it is the Monge market. Both nice with their own specififies. Last but not least, none of these markets is open on Monday. Do not sign-up for a Market Tour on Monday, you might never see that money again …

Choosing Ingredients in Paris

While all markets are different, they also have some things in common. First they work on specific schedules as explained before. But also you will find always at a minimum the following vendors: a Maraîcher – this is the name we give to people selling fruits and vegetables, a butcher, a fishmonger, a cheesemonger and a baker. Normally you will find several of each, with different levels of quality, organic or non-organic, local or not local (but mostly not local unfortunately).
And we explain how to recognize each of those of course during our Market Visits and Cooking Classes in Paris. But choosing ingredients can be daunting at first, because of the variety that is on display. A typical fishmonger will carry 20 different types of fishes, and as many shrimp and shelf fish varieties. A good cheese monger will easily carry up to 100 different types of cheese and obviously you could get over 100 different cuts of meat at a butcher (from the type of meat to the cut itself). And a normal Maraicher will carry between 50 and 100 fruits and vegetables as well.
This is what makes these markets so exciting – the variety of products, the beauty of their display, and the exchange you can have with most of the vendors. We give you tips though on how to make sure that exchange with the vendors go well – a few magic words, and everything will be fine!

Cooking in Paris

Obviously going to markets is nice, but actually knowing that you are going to cook what you find there is even more exciting. It is not uncommon for Parisians to buy a little bit too much food because they get so excited at the idea of cooking it all! But as most of us have hardly any space where we live, that can limit the enthusiasm sometimes. Because of the lack of space, Cooking in Paris can be quite different from cooking in the rest of France. And there are also dishes that are typically associated with regions which the Parisian will not cook at home – but taste when they visit friends or families in the various regions of France. However our kitchen has plenty of space, so we can cook traditional French dishes without a problem – whether they come from Paris or any region. And the most important part for us is to ensure that we share techniques much more than just recipes. As a matter of fact, we love to share a bit of the science behind what we do so people can better remember the “what” by understanding the “why”.

Sharing Stories

In November 2010, some experts from the UN cultural organisation, decided tha France’s multi-course gastronomic meal, with its rites and its presentation, fulfilled the conditions for featuring on the “world intangible list” of the UNESCO.
In this list you can find all kinds of cultural practices, including Mexico Day of the Dead festival for example. Importantly this is not suggesting French cuisine is better than other cuisines (even though we the French tend to believe that …). It is only saying that the gastronomic meal and what it entails is a very vivid cultural practice which people in France partake into on a very regular basis. That is why the same experts indicated that the French gastronomic meal is a “social custom aimed at celebrating the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups”. And in that social custom, there are many parts: the attention we pay to the way we choose ingredients, how we pair wine with food, how many dishes we will present to our guests, how we lay the table, etc… But one big part of the cultural practice is that commensality (the fact of sharing the food) is always accompanied by sharing stories about …. Well, you would have guessed it, Food of course!
To us it is THE perfect example of how Food and Culture come together – actually we decide to share food is a considered a cultural practice. I would argue that it is true of all countries, regions, etc… As the way we relate to Food is such a big part of anybody’s identity. But as a result and to make sure you have the most genuine experience of French culture, after the a coking class in Paris at Le Foodist, you will share a gastronomic meal at a common table with your Chef and fellow participants to the class.

French Wine and Food Pairing

As mentioned above, one of the big cultural practices in France is choosing how to pair Wine and Food in general and Wine and Cheese in particular. We actually have a class which focuses specifically on this. As it is so important though, we always make sure we share white and red wines during our meals, chosen to pair well in our opinion with the food we cook. And being at the table together is a good opportunity to discuss about wine as well, with concepts such as “terroir” (to simplify, terroir means “what you do depends on where you are”) which are essential to grasp the way the French think about Food.
And all this will always go with a cheering “Santé” – which quite simply means, to your good health!

More About Our Baguettes Classes

Getting a bit technical during our Baguette Class in Paris

The French baguette, actually probably better known as the Parisian baguette has beome a true symbol of French popular gastronomy. A true icon of French life even - look around and you will see the Parisians strolling back home with their baguettes under their arm. But if you are French why would you learn how to do this? You can buy a baguette at any corner of Paris for about one Euro a piece.  But in our Baguette Class in Paris  you will learn how do this from scratch. It is somewhat technical, but also full of tips and tricks. But when you leave, it will have not secret left for you. From the original mix to the famous "scarification" through adding water to your oven through baking, you will see and do it all.

Learning more during your Baguette class in Paris: Croque Monsieur Bread and Brioche

This class is like all our other baking or cooking classes: totally hands-on. So you get to practice from beginning to end - and to taste at the end. But not only will you learn how to make Baguette, but you will also learn to make two more types of bread: the French Croque Monsieur bread. The basis for the classic French bistrot appetizer. And in your Baguette class in Paris you will also learn how to make your own Brioche. Probably the most indulgent bread you will find in France - if not the lightest ...

And you might learn some history during your Baguette Class in Paris

While you will learn the techniques to create - and get to taste - three classic types of French breads, you will also learn some of the stories on the origin of the baguette. Just beware it is still being quite hotly debated. What is for sure though is that the Baguette is absolutely part of today Parisian's life. A classic you will be able to take back home with you.

More About Our Wine and Cheese Lunch in Paris

Cheese and Wine in Paris

The pleasures we can derive from French cuisine can seem endless.  However two of the best known and loved French gastronomic heroes are French cheese and wine. Whether we talk about a Brie which actually comes from very close to Paris, to a creamy Camembert from Normandy, or a Comté from the Alps, French cheese has a delight for all palates. And of course, French wines are even better known whether from Bordeaux great wines or Burgundy sophisticated whites – all of which enthral wine lovers.  Well, at our course on cheese and wine in Paris you will come to appreciate that although each is delicious on its own, properly matched cheese and wine together can make the experience of each even more enjoyable and an absolute delight.

How to pair French cheese and wine

Because not all pairings are actually what people expect, at Le Foodist we have decided to call these experiences 'Daring Pairings'. Maybe because we like to step out of the ordinary to challenge our taste buds, but really all we try to do is give you the perfect match fo cheese and wine in Paris.  So not only will you learn how to select the best wine to go with your cheese, but you will also learn what are the big cheese families in France – there are actually only five, and this is one of the keys to great pairing. In discovering all these pairings of cheese with wine you will be convinced that indeed two things together can be better than the sum of their parts.

It is important to have fun with pairing cheese and wine in Paris

Beyond the tastings though, we have found that the best way to help our clients remember and re-use their experience is to vary the way to approach both wine and cheese.  That is why during our courses on cheese and wine in Paris we share sensory games and many an anecdote to bring the produce to life in your mind as well as on your palate. Overall we will feature four excellent wines, one Champagne and demonstrate to you how best each combines with cheese, letting your taste guide you along with our teaching.

Understanding cheese and wine pairing while in Paris

While for many top Parisian wine stores and restaurant wine lists can be confusing and even intimidating, we believe that after our lunch learning how to pair cheese and wine in Paris, you will feel much more comfortable navigating all of those.  And we sincerely hope your knowledge will help you unlock a door to a whole new world of enjoyment of French wine and cheese pairing.  At every step of the way our sommelier will also share unique tips and tricks to understand wines better and how culture and wine are so related in France; hopefully enriching your own experience as well.

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