An hors d’oeuvre (/ɔːr ˈdɜːrv(rə)/or DURV(-rə); French: hors-d’œuvre[ɔʁ dœvʁ] (listen)), appetizer or starter is a small dish served before a meal in European cuisine. Some hors d’oeuvres are served cold, others hot. Hors d’oeuvres may be served at the dinner table as a part of the meal, or they may be served before seating, such as at a reception or cocktail party. Formerly, hors d’oeuvres were also served between courses.
Typically smaller than the main dish, an hors d’oeuvre is often designed to be eaten by hand.
American appetisers and cocktail hors d’oeuvres
The term appetiser (American English: appetizer) is a synonym for hors d’oeuvre. It was first used in the United States and England simultaneously in 1860. Americans also use the term to define the first of three courses in a meal, an optional one generally set on the table before guests were seated. Drinks before dinner became a custom towards the end of the 19th century. As this new fashion caught on, the British took inspiration from the French to begin serving hors d’oeuvres before dinner.
A cocktail party is considered a small gathering with mixed drinks and light snacks. Hors d’oeuvres may be served as the only food offering at cocktail parties and receptions, where no dinner is served afterward. After the end of prohibition in the United States, the cocktail party gained acceptance. Prior to the First World War, American dinner guests would be expected to enter the dining room immediately where drinks would be served at the table with appetisers.
This changed by the 1920s when hors d’oeuvres were served prior to a non-alcoholic cocktail; however, after the repeal of Prohibition in the United States, cocktail parties became popular with many different hors d’oeuvres meant as something to help counter the stronger drinks. It is the cocktail party that helped transfer the hors d’oeuvres from the formal dining table to the mobility of the serving tray. These appetisers passed around the cocktail party may also be referred to as canapés.
Though any food served before the main course is technically an hors d’oeuvre, the phrase is generally limited to individual items, such as cheese or fruit. A glazed fig topped with mascarpone and wrapped with prosciutto is an hors d’oeuvre, and plain figs served on a platter may also be served as hors d’oeuvres.
It could be pickled beets or anchovy eggs as topping over tomatoes as part of the initial “drinks” session such as alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages. They are also served in the forms of dips, spreads, pastries, olives, or nuts with or without a base of the egg, cheese, meats, vegetables, seafood, or bread. Single cold items served are smoked salmon, avocado pear, caviar, pâté, shellfish cocktails, and melon with garnishes and decorations. Seasoned hot dishes served are vegetables, meat, fish, egg, pasta, cheese, soufflés, tartlets, puff pastry, or choux pastry.Hors d’oeuvre