Also known as "amuse gueule" and normally never seen on a menu- it's a great way to start a French meal. An amuse bouche is a complimentary tasty tidbit from the chef that precedes the first course. For me it's always a pleasant surprise that leaves me and my appetite grateful but anticipating the meal with greater impatience. Mangeons!
The amuse bouche (pictured above) is a frothy melon creation with a thinly sliced toasted piece of bread.
There were several options for a prix-fixe-menu but I wound up ordering à la carte:
Le Entrée -- Le Foie Gras: Mi-Cuit, Anguille Fumée et Pommes de Terre Grillées
Le Viande -- L'Agneau: Carré et Filet, Jus de Carotte, Romarin et Citron Confit (It came with a side of légumes)
Le Gourmandises -- La Framboise: Rafraîchies au Citron Vert, Fines Feuilles de Sucre, Macaron et Sorbet Litchi et Rose
There was a bottle of red wine (Domaine les Chenêts,Crozes-Hermitage 2009) and bread to accompany the meal. A typical French meal includes a course of cheeses before the dessert but I opted to skip this and thank goodness I did because the chef sent out a little plate of goodies (les macarons, des cerises, petit gâteau aux amands et meringues) along with the ordered dessert.
amuser to amuse
bouche human mouth
gueule animal's mouth
amuse gueule means the same thing as amuse bouche but it is less formal and sometimes can be considered vulgar
gourmandise it's a singular noun referring to a weakness for sweets or good food. On the negative side it also refers to greed or gluttony.
gourmandises plural noun, it refers to sweets (I guess in this case two negatives does make a positive, sweet!)
Les Photos: Un repas chez L'Orangerie à Chambery le Vieux, France. Juin 2011.