What Are Hors d’Oeuvres?

From wedding celebrations to sweet 16 parties in Pennsylvania, food plays a key role in any special day. However, figuring out exactly what’s supposed to be served at every course can be confusing. One of the most nebulous parts of any fancy meal is the hors d’oeuvres course. If you’re planning a dinner or a wedding, you might be wondering what an hors d’oeuvre even is — and what you should  serve during this course.

An hors d’oeuvre (pronounced “or-DERV”) is a small bite of food that you enjoy before dinner. Most hors d’oeuvre courses are served alongside cocktails. If you’re attending a party where dinner won’t be served, a heavier hors d’oeuvre course might replace the meal. Hors d’oeuvres might be placed on a table, or they may be passed around amongst guests by a team of wait staff members. 

What’s the difference between an appetizer and an hors d’oeuvre? Many people use the two terms interchangeably, but there is a distinction between the two that you should know in case you’re ever in a formal setting. The word “appetizer” technically means the first course of a meal. On the other hand, an hors d’oeuvre isn’t a course — think of it as more of a light snack before the main meal begins.

Some of the most common types of hors d’oeuvres include: 

  • Canapes – Canapes are a type of hors d’oeuvre that is placed on a piece of bread, cracker, or pastry. Canapes are then topped with a spread (like cream cheese or butter) and then an accent (like shrimp, crab, a vegetable, or almost any type of meat).
  • Crudité – Crudité platters are selections of raw, sliced vegetables alongside some type of dip. Some crudité platters also include raw nuts and crackers as well.
  • Pastries – Small savory pastries (like quiches) are often served as hors d’oeuvres. 

Are you looking for a more decadent start to your meal? From delicious hors d’oeuvres to perfectly portable box lunches in Philadelphia, Village Catering offers a wide range of catering services to fit every event. Give our team a call today to learn more or get started.