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French wine passion – drinking culture in France

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The famous French wine has delighted the greatest connoisseurs of the drink for a long time. It is known for its splendor all over the world. The main reason for drinking wine is the taste, but it is certainly also influenced by the health aspect.

When it comes to where to buy wine, we have several options. From a regular supermarket to stands at fairs or buying directly from the winery. It is important to take care of a reliable source so as not to come across an unpleasant surprise. In the area that we had the opportunity to explore, rosé wine is most often chosen with meals – in Provence it accounts for as much as 90% of the production of local wineries! However, if we take into account the whole area of France, red wine is definitely preferred, especially those from the Bordeaux area (wine region). It is also worth mentioning the white wine, which the hosts offer at the same time as the appetizer is served on the table.

However, the French drink not only wine, but also aperitifs and digestifs, which do not always qualify for them.

Aperitif is an alcoholic drink that is served before a meal to increase the appetite and stimulate the work of the stomach.

Digestif is also an alcoholic beverage, but very strong in the form of e.g. cognac or home-made tinctures. It is served right after a meal, which is usually heavy, to aid digestion.

We didn’t learn much about alcohol from our French peers, even though they can usually drink it legally (alcohol in France can be bought and consumed from the age of 16). Most people told us, however, that at their dinners you can almost always notice standing bottles of wine and additions such as digestifs and aperitifs. It’s kind of a tradition. Moreover, it is normal for children who are a little older to be encouraged to introduce wine into their diet. Often, parents from an early age try to give them wine diluted in water to get them used to its taste. Interestingly, our guide, Mr. Slawek, who introduced us to the French surroundings, told us something surprising. Apparently, teachers can help themselves to wine during breaks, which would be unacceptable in Poland.

So how does drinking alcohol, especially wine, affect the health of the French?

It may seem that wine and other alcohols consumed regularly and often have a very negative impact on human health, because you can easily become addicted to them. However, drinking wine is healthy if done in moderate amounts, i.e. no more than a glass or two a day. Wine, thanks to the content of antioxidants, makes digestion easier, lowers cholesterol and provides the body with the necessary minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. In addition, it positively affects the work of the pancreas and thyroid gland and the metabolism of fats, proteins and sugars. People who regularly drink wine are less likely to suffer from diseases such as kidney stones and gallstones. In addition to health benefits, drinking wine can also be associated with emotional instability and depression. From our observations, we can also say that there are few French people who have problems with being overweight or obese. This is due, among other things, to the fact that red wine (consumed most often in France) is considered the healthiest drink, containing strong concentrated polyphenols, thanks to which a person does not gain weight and even burns calories.

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