Appetizers and hors d’oeuvres are terms often used interchangeably in our culture to describe small-portioned dishes that can offer a variety of flavor profiles. Appetizers are meant as a bite to hold you over until the entree is served. Oftentimes people show up for dinner at restaurants or the homes of friends with an appetite. Appetizers are supposed to be something that is quickly prepared that a guest can have to hold over their hunger until a more filling and hearty meal can be served. Hors d’oeuvres (from the French word for appetizer) can be served hot or cold. They can be eaten standing up, rather than seated at a formal dining table. When guests have just arrived at a venue, they’re typically coming from someplace else and they’re hungry. Rather than feed them a big meal immediately upon arrival, appetizers fulfill the need for some food while guests can also stand around talking with friends and family before the main meal. Hot and spicy, sweet or savory, whatever you're looking for, we’ve got you covered!
Why serve appetizers? They’re ideal for people to eat before the main meal because they’re designed to be eaten by hand, with minimal use of cutlery involved. Therefore, they’re convenient. They generally don’t require dishes, spoons, forks, knives, placemats, and other items involved in eating an actual meal.
The best kind of hors d’oeuvres are foods that people don’t eat everyday. These food concoctions can seem novel and exciting to guests, who will comment to each other which item(s) they particularly like. Thus, they serve as conversation starters: “Oh, you must try these sweet potato and walnut bites. They’re to die for!”
If you’re wondering how many appetizers per person you’ll need, I like to account for about 3-5 pieces per person as a before dinner snack.
If you’re having a party and will be serving only appetizers, I account for about 8-10 pieces for around 2 hours. Up it a little if they’ll be staying longer or drinking a lot.
Hors d’oeuvres and appetizers are often accompanied by cocktails. They’re commonly found at cocktail parties or during the cocktail hour of a reception or gala. Most of the time, hors d’oeuvres are considered ‘finger foods’ and can be eaten while standing and mingling.
Great appetizers get you in the mood, they get you excited about what else lays in store for you. Similarly, bad appetizers can get things off to a bad start, leaving you wondering if the rest of your experience will be any better.
This week we are featuring our Blue Cheese, Honey & Shallot Spread and our Calabrian Pepper & Sweet Tomato Fennel Spread. Purchase two 9 oz jars of Calabrian or Blue Cheese and receive a free box of phyllo! Here are ten easy appetizers you can use with these ingredients:Calabrian & White Wine Mussels