17 Course French Classical menu

In western formal dining, a full course menu can consist of 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, or 16 courses, and, in its extreme form, has been known to have twenty-one courses. In these more formalised dining events, the courses are carefully planned to complement each other gastronomically. The courses are smaller and spread out over a long evening, up to three, four or five hours, and follow conventions of menu planning that have been established over many years. Most courses (excluding some light courses such as sorbets) in the most formal full course dinners are usually paired with a different wine, beer, liqueur, or another spirit. The most luxurious well-known full course is, of course, created from French in which represent their elegant service in gastronomy.

This legendary full classic French full course dinner consists of 17 menus from appetiser to dessert and ended with a drink.

Hors d’oeuvre- Appetizers

This course is a starter which is basically tasty and tangy and stimulates our hunger and increases our appetite

They are of two types-

  • Classical- all Pre plated and cover is item specific
  • General- most of them platter to plate and cover is fish knife and fish fork

Classical Hors d’oeuvres-

  1. Pample mousse ( Grapefruit)- This is a citrus fruit

Cover– Grape fruit cup, doily, under plate, grapefruit spoon/tea spoon.

Accompaniment- caster sugar in sugar dredger

  1. Jus (Juice) – Fruit juices like orange juice, pineapple juices, apple juices etc.

Cover- Pony tumbler, doily, teaspoon and under plate

Accompaniment-  Sweet- Caster sugar

  1. Cocktail de fruits de mer (Sea Food Cocktail)- shellfish like shrimps, lobster etc dressed with cocktail sauce

Cocktail sauce- mayonnaise + tomato ketchup

Cocktail de crevettes- indicates prawn

Cocktail d’homard- indicates lobster garnished with parsley Cover- Sea food cocktail glass, doily, under plate and teaspoon. 

  1. Huitre ( oyster) –Bivalve molluscs served raw in clusters of dozen Cover- in a deep plate on a bed of crushed ice, above a cloth napkin on a large plate, one oyster fork or fish fork at an angel of 45° to the cover from the edge of the table on the right hand side.
  2. Melon- there are 4 common varieties
    • Canteloupe
    • Honey Dew
    • Charentaise
    • Water melon

Cover- Boat shaped cut (melon cup), half plate, doily, fruit fork, fruit knife. If over ripe- serve with dessert spoon to the right of the cover

If not very ripe and scooped out- serve with the tea spoon accompanied with   caster sugar

  1. Caviare (caviar)- These are roe of sturgeon

Roe- processed fish eggs

Sturgeon- Particular species of fish found in Caspian Sea or black sea


  • Grainy Caviar
  • Pressed Caviar

              Grainy caviar can be further classified into-

              Beluga- white in colour

              Sevruga- dark in colour

              Ossetra- black in colour

It is sold in weight basis. Almas is the costliest among all the caviars which costs 23000 dollar per kg.

Cover- Caviar Knife/ Fish Knife on the right side of the cover, caviar pot on a bed of crushed ice in a caviar plate

Accompaniment- Blinis/Toast (blinis is a savoury Russian pan cake), sieved egg yolk, chopped egg white, chopped shallots and segments of lemon

  1. General Hors d’oeuvre

Cover- Fish knife, Fish Fork and Half Plate

  1. Salads- dressed or tossed
  2. Oeuf Mayonnaise
  3. Fish- Anchovies, tuna, prawns, pickled fish, smoked fish etc
  4. Meat- Cold cuts
  5. Canapés- one bite sized snacks with a base of bread, toppings and garnish
  6. Pate de foie gras- paste of goose liver

Potage / Soup

Soup also act as an appetiser for the further courses to come. Soups like clear soup(consommé) and the other a thick soup (crème, veloute, puree) are served during this course. Although it must be noted that the clear soup is always placed first on the menu.

Liquid extract of solid ingredients, classified as food.

Of two types- Thick &  Thin

  • Thick Soup-
    1. Cream soup
    2. Puree
    3. Bisque
    4. Chowder

Cover- Soup Bowl/ Soup Plate, under plate, soup spoon, doily/ paper napkin

Examples- Crème de Tomate, Bisque d’homard, Puree of lentils

  • Thin Soup-
    1. With Garnish-Consommé brunoise, consommé julienne etc. Cover-Soup Bowl, doily, under plate, soup spoon
    2. Without garnish- Consommé clair, consommé en tasse etc.

Cover- Double handled consommé cup, under plate, doily and dessert spoon.

Oeuf / Egg

Oeufs are the dishes made from egg. There are many styles of cooking and preparation of eggs such as boiled, en cocotte, poached or scrambled. This course is not included in the dinner menu.

Farinaceous / Farineaux / Pasta or Rice

This is Italy’s contribution to the courses of the menu. It includes different kinds of rice and pasta. Pasta dishes are spaghetti, lasagne and gnocchi. There are more than 200 varieties of pasta. The ingredients, size, shape and colour determine the type of pasta.

Poisson / Fish

Poisson is the dishes made from fish. Fish, being soft-fibred,prepares the palate for the heavier meats that follow. Ideal fish for dinner menu compilation are: Sole, Salmon, Halibut, Escallops, etc. Rarely seen on a menu for the evening meal are Cod, Bass, Haddock, Brill, Hake, and Plaice.

Preparation- smoked fish, grilled fish, fried fish etc

Cover- Fish Knife, fish fork and half plate

Popular dishes-

  • Poisson frit l’ orly (Batter) – tomato ketchup

Poisson grille- lemon butter sauce

Entrée / Entree

The First in the meat course Entrées is generally small, well-garnished dishes which come from the kitchen ready for service. They are always accompanied by very rich gravy or sauce when relive follow entrée then potatoes and vegetables are not served with the latter; if, however, a reliever does not follow the entrée they would be served with the dish.

Cover– small fork, small knife and half plate

Popular dishes-

  • Rognon Saute Bercy- kidney with brown sauce
  • Chop de porc- pork chops
  • Vol au vent au rognon

Sorbet / Sorbet

Because of the length of the French classical menu, this course is considered to be the rest between courses . It counteracts the previous dishes and rejuvenates the appetite for those that are to follow. It is water and crushed ice slush flavoured as a rule with champagne and served in a glass.

Cover– champagne saucer/ pony tumbler, under plate, teaspoon

Releves / Joints

This is the main meat course on the menu, Releves are normally larger than entrees and take the form of butcher’s joints which have to be carved. These joints are normally roasted. A sauce or a roast gravy with potatoes and green vegetables are always served with this course.

Cover– Large knife, large fork and large plate

Accompaniments– sauce, bread, vegetables (devoid of potato), potato preparations etc


Boeuf roti(roasted beef)- sauce raifort (horseradish sauce)

Gigot d agneau roti (roasted leg of lamb) – sauce de menth (mint sauce)

Cuissot de porc roti (roasted hind pork) – sauce des pommes (apple sauce)

Yorkshire pudding, steaks etc can also be served as an accompaniment

Roti / Roast

At this stage, the balance of the courses is gradually returning from heavy to light. Roast always contain roast of game or poultry: – chicken, turkey, duck, pheasant, quail. Each dish is accompanied by its own particular sauce and gravy, with a green salad served separately on a cresent shaped dish.

Cover– large knife, large fork and large plate


Dindon Roti (roasted turkey) – sauce d’airelle (cranberry sauce)

Poulet Roti (roasted chicken) – sauce de pain (bread sauce)

Lapin Roti (roasted rabbit) – Jus Roti

Caneton Roti (roasted duckling) -Sauce d’orange

Legumes / Vegetables

We now have a vegetable dish served only with its accompanying sauce. These are vegetable dishes that can be served separately as an individual course or may be included along – with the entrée, relevé or roast courses.

Cover– small knife, small fork and half plate


Choux fleur Mornay, Asperges chaud- Beurre fondu, Legume au gratin

Salades / Salad

Various types of salads which are served during this course.


Salade francaise : – lettuce, tomato, egg, & vinaigrette dressings.

Salade vert: – Lettuce, watercress, cucumber and green pepper.

Buffet Froid / Cold Buffet 

In this course Chilled meat(small) pieces are served. 


Poulet roti : – Roast chicken

Ham in Parsley Aspic (Jambon Persillé)

Caneton Roti: – Roast Duck

Mayonnaise d hommard: – lobster mayonnaise

Entremets / Sweets

Entremets on a menu refers to desserts. This could include hot or cold sweets, gateaux, soufflés or ice-cream. 

Examples of Entrements:

Crepe suzette : – pancakes in a rich fresh orange juice and  flamed with brandy.

Ananas Flambes au kirsch: – Pineapple flamed with cherry flavoured liquor.

Peche Melba: – Vanilla Ice cream topped with a peach coated with a raspberry jam sauce and decorated with cream.

Bombes : – various Ice cream sweets.

Savoureux / Savory 

A dish of pungent taste, such as anchovies on toast orpickled fruit. They are seved hot on toast or as savoury soufflé.Welsh rarebit, Scotch woodcock, Canape diane are some of the examples. 

Welsh rarebit: – Cheese sauce Flavoured with ale on toast gratinated.

Canape Daine :- Chicken livers rolled in bacon and grilled, placed on a warm toast.

Champignons sur croute: – mushrooms on toast.

Fromage / Cheese

Fromage is an alternative to the outdated savoury course, and may be served before or after the sweet course. It is usually served with butter, crackers and occasionally celery.Gouda, Camembert and Cheddar are some examples of cheese.All type of cheese may be offered together with appropriate accompaniments, the ideal cheese board will combine hard, semi-hard, soft or cream, blue and fresh cheese.

  1. Hard cheese- parmesan, derby
  2. Semi hard Cheese-cheddar, Edam
  3. Soft/ cream Cheese-brie, feta
  4. Blue veined Cheese- gorgonzola, stilton

Cover– quarter plate and small knife/ small fork

Accompaniment- Brown Bread, cream cracker biscuit, celery sticks, water cress,    radish etc

Dessert / Cut Fruits & Nuts

Dessert is a course that typically comes at the end of a meal. All forms of fresh fruit and nuts may be served in this course. Common desserts include cakes, cookies, fruits, pastries and candies.

Cover– Half plate, fruit/small knife, fruit/ small fork

Essential accompaniment- sugar dredger (caster sugar)

Exception- Raisins Frais (grapes) – half plate, Grape scissors, bowl of water to rinse the grapes, doily, under liner (quarter plate) for the bowl and scissor and finger bowl.

Boissons / Beverage

All types of hot or cold beverage,Tea,Coffee etc. are served. Always remember that while compiling menus beverages are not counted as a course.

Examples are:

Coffee: Cafetiere, Iced, Filter, Speciality, Decaffeinated.

Tea: Indian, Ceylon, Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Orange Pekoe

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