international dining etiquette
Table manners are relatively relaxed and informal in Canada, but Quebec is a little more formal.
Dining etiquette for utensils. Use Continental table manners. When cutting food, hold your fork in your left hand and your knife in your right hand. Apply pressure to the knife with your index finger at the point where the knife blade meets the handle. Spear and keep steady your food with the fork, tines facing downward. Apply pressure to the neck of the fork using your index finger. Proper dining etiquette dictates that you keep your elbows down. After cutting your food, your knife remains in your right hand. Continue holding the fork in your left hand with the tines facing downward, applying pressure to the neck of the fork with your index finger as you lift it to your mouth. When finished eating, leave cutlery facing upward in the middle of your plate.
Dining etiquette for using your hands. You are seldom expected to eat with your hands. If the type of food is easier to eat in that way, be guided by what your host does. Do not rest your elbows on the table.
Dining etiquette for napkins. Keep your napkin in your lap while eating.
Dining etiquette for seating. Wait to be shown to your seat.
Dining etiquette for beginning to eat. Do not begin eating until the hostess starts.
Meals are typically served in courses. Except at a formal dinner, it is common to have two courses, either an appetizer or salad and main dish or a main dish and a dessert. Occasionally meals are served buffet style for medium to large gatherings. It is appropriate to eat everything served to you at a meal, and your host will be pleased if you enjoy it. If you don't like the taste of something, deal with it discreetly, and usually no one will comment about it.
Dining etiquette for discussing business. Business entertainment is common, but the focus usually remains on business. The person who invites is normally expected to pay.
Dining Etiquette for Quebec
Dining etiquette in a restaurant. To beckon a waiter in Quebec, quietly say "Monsieur" or "S'il vous plate." Say "Mademoiselle" to beckon a waitress. If you are invited out to a pub in Canada, please keep in mind that each person is expected to pay for a round of drinks. Neglecting your turn to pay for a round will create a bad impression.
Wine is normally served with meals in Quebec.
In Quebec, typical before-dinner drinks include pernod, kir, champagne, and vermouth. Cognac, Grand Marnier and/or other liqueurs are served after dinner.
Dining etiquette for toasts. Simple, informal toasts involve raising a glass and saying "Cheers.". The host normally offers first toast. Wait until everyone is served wine and a toast is proposed before drinking. It is acceptable for women to propose a toast.
Dining etiquette for tipping. Tipping is not compulsory in Canada. However, in a business situation it is appropriate. Tips are at your discretion but need not be more than 15%.
- Mike Lininger, Editor, Etiquette Scholar
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