The Most Important Appetizer You'll Need to Serve

What exactly is an appetizer?

An appetizer is a bite-size morsel of food that should tantalize your taste buds without leaving you too full to enjoy the main course to be served later. They are delicate and always delicious. An appetizer should fit nicely in one's mouth in one - or two at the absolute most - bites. Of course, they can also serve a useful purpose at cocktail parties, preventing guests from becoming drunk too quickly! It should definitely be part of your menu.

There are various classifications of appetizers, but they all follow the same principle. These classifications are not strict - many recipes can be described as canapes or hors d' oeuvres, for example, but here is a brief overview to help you.


Cocktails, in the context of appetizers, may consist of a few delicate morsels of fish, drinks, shellfish, and fruits served with a zingy flavored sauce. A cocktail should always be made from the freshest possible ingredients and attractively presented to enhance its visual appearance. Examples of cocktail appetizers include prawn or lobster cocktails with a retro Marie-Rose sauce, smoked salmon blinis, or fresh fruit juice such as pineapple, orange, or tomato.

Hors d' oeuvres

Hors d' oeuvres are delicate portions of tasty, savory foods served during a cocktail party or another type of gathering. In France, hors d' oeuvres describe appetizers served shortly before a hot or cold meal. Simplicity should be the main criteria for making the hors d'oeuvres. Although most hors d' oeuvres are served cold at a party or function, there are also plenty of hot ones. Examples of popular savory hors d' oeuvres are devilled eggs, sticky barbecued cocktail sausages, and olives with rosemary, lemon, and garlic.


A 'canape' sounds like a French word, and it is, although it actually means 'sofa'. In English, canapes are a relatively new type of hors d' oeuvres designed to resemble a miniature sofa with different layers. They first became popular in France in the 19th century but didn't become widely known in Britain until the twentieth century.

Canapes are a specific category of hors d'oeuvres in that they consist of a layer of something firm - usually toast or bread, that is topped with something delicious and savory. The main reason they are so popular at parties is the fact that they can be easily eaten with a glass of wine in one hand and the canape in the other, without the risk of making a mess.

Popular canapes include arancini balls, caviare on blinis, mini roast beef, and Yorkshire puddings with horseradish sauce, goat cheese and red onion tartlets, and mini lobster rolls. Mini lobster rolls are indulgent yet easy to prepare, and recipes include versions made with butter or mayonnaise.

Canapes and other appetizers are considered relatively healthy party food. They often contain a good balance of lean and good-quality protein and a relatively small amount of fats and sugars. One canape is rarely more than 100 calories.


Relishes and crudites are typically served on a large platter with a cold sauce in the center or conveniently near. Julienned raw vegetables, such as carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, radish, olives, and celery, are the most commonly seen choices. Salsa and sour cream and chive dip served with tortilla chips, or nachos, are an informal example of this type of appetizer, although this verges into 'chips and dip' territory. Breadsticks may also be added along with the crudites.

When it comes to selecting an appropriate relish or dip, the thickness is the most crucial consideration. It should be thick enough to easily adhere to the raw vegetable, but not so thick it breaks the cracker or cucumber stick when it is scooped up.


Many would consider crudites and dips to be a form of salad, but 'petite salads' deserve their own category in the world of appetizers. These are light, smaller-portion salads usually served as the first course of a meal. The ingredients are the same as a 'normal' salad, but the portion sizes are smaller. Petite salads can be plain salads consisting of one main ingredient, i.e., cucumber or tomato, or a compound salad with several components, for example, a Waldorf salad, Caesar Salad, or a Russian salad. 

Light, fresh and healthy - as long as you go easy on the dressings - salads are the ideal appetizer for health-conscious guests. If you're looking for a budget-friendly way to add lobster to your menu, consider serving lobster salad as an appetizer or entrée. Lobster salad is easy to make and can be prepared in various ways. You can do it cold or hot, with or without a dressing.

Soups and Consommés

Although hearty soups can be regarded as a meal in their own right, they can be classed as appetizers as they are most often served as a starter course in many parts of the world and are usually offered instead of a salad option. Lobster bisque is a luxurious dish perfect for intimate dinners. Its rich and creamy flavor will make your small celebration extra special. The dish is not difficult to make and can be made in advance. Just reheat it right before serving and place it in the middle of the table for your partner to enjoy.

Lobster bisque tastes even better when you use lobster shells to create a stock that will give its rich flavor. After making the stock, you can boil the shells again to make stock for other dishes. This delicious soup can be served as an appetizer or main course. It's elegant, and it will impress your partner. 

How to choose the right appetizer for your party?

A good host always thinks of the needs of their guests. If everyone will be standing up and mingling, canapes that can be passed around on platters are the best choice. For a more formal meal, soups and salads can be an option. Contrast colors and shapes, about repeating flavors and keep things simple, and look forward to enjoying a party accentuated with delicious appetizers!

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Looking for appetizers for your wedding menu? Check out these six appetizers that you’ll surely not regret serving on your big day.

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