Veggie ‘steak’ spared the knife in France

Vegetarian "steak" has been spared the knife in France after a court delayed a government bid to ban the use of meaty terms to describe plant-based products.

Veggie 'steak' spared the knife in France
Two meatless patties cook in a skillet (Photo by Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

The prohibition was set to come into force on October 1 following a long campaign from French meat and livestock groups, seeking to uphold the country’s famously fastidious conventions for the naming of food and drink.

The government said terms including sausage, lardon, dumpling and carpaccio should be reserved for meat products.

But on Wednesday the Council of State administrative court sided with Proteines France, an organisation that represents the vegetable protein sector.

It accepted concerns over the speed and scope of the legislation, and granted a suspension.

Proteines France was relieved the government now has to regroup on the issue, but remains “cautious” over further legal action, the organisation’s lawyer told AFP.

“The Council of State has accepted our argument that it is impossible for vegetable products to be excluded from the lexical field,” Guillaume Hannotin said.

He argued some terms were originally unconnected to meat, such as “steak”, which can mean a “slice” in English, or “carpaccio”, named after an Italian Renaissance painter renowned for his use of the colour red.

In October 2020, the European Parliament rejected a move to ban the use of terms of animal origin for plant products — except when words like “yoghurt”, “cream” or “cheese” are applied to products without animal milk.

With the publication of its decree in June, France became the only country in the EU to go against this decision.

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France introduces stricter wine rules for restaurants, bars and cafés

The French government has introduced stricter wine rules for restaurants, bars and cafés, which must now display full information on the origins of all wines they serve.

France introduces stricter wine rules for restaurants, bars and cafés

If you’re ordering a bottle of wine it’s likely that the menu will state where the wine comes from, but previously this was not always the case for wines bought by the glass or carafe.

Most French cafés and restaurants offer wine by the glass as well as pitchers or carafes or various sizes, which are also sometimes referred to as un pot, particularly in the east of France.

Thanks to a new law that came into effect on July 24th, if you order any of these, the bar or restaurant is obliged to display full information on where the wine comes from, and its protected geographical origin (AOP) if it has one.

Any establishments that sell wine – whether for consumption on or off the premises – must display the information in full and in writing. Failure to do so makes them liable to a €1,500 fine. 

The law is a revision of the Loi relative à la transparence de l’information sur les produits agricoles et alimentaires, which came into force in 2020 and is intended to protect French farmers and producers.

French vocab

Une bouteille de vin rouge, s’il vous plaît –  a bottle of red wine, please

Une bouteille de vin blanc – a bottle of white wine

Un pichet de vin rosé – a pitcher of rosé wine

Une carafe de vin – a pitcher of wine

Pichet and carafe are just different words for the same thing, and if you want tap water (as opposed to mineral water) with your meal, ask for un pichet d’eau or une carafe d’eau. Carafes usually come in varying sizes, the most common being 50cl or 25cl.

Cinqante centilitres – 50cl, or two thirds of a bottle

Vingt-cinq centilitres – 25cl, or one third of a bottle

Un pot lyonnais – if you’re in or around Lyon, you might see wine listed on the menu as by the pot – this comes in a carafe that is shaped like a small bottle with a very thick glass bottom. The classic pot lyonnais holds exactly 46 centilitres, or just over half a bottle  

Un verre de vin rouge – a glass of red wine 

Encore de vin, s’il vous plaît – another wine, please (the ‘encore‘ lets your server know that you want another glass/bottle/pitcher of the same wine)

Vin bio – organic wine

Vin naturel – wine produced by ‘natural’ methods 

Bio, natural or biodynamic: 5 things to know about organic wine in France

Qui va goûter? – Who will taste? The standard question that your server will ask when they bring the bottle of wine to your table

Un pot-de-vin – a bribe. Not a wine term as such, but if you hear reference to un pot-de-vin it means a bribe. These days bribes are usually paid in cash, but the origins of the term are pretty clear.