A canapé or canape (Spanish/French for "couch" [ James Beard, "Hors d'Oeuvres and Canapés" (William Morrow & Co., New York, 1943, 1963, 1985), p. xiii. ] and known in Italy as "tartina") is a small, prepared and usually decorative food, held in the fingers and often eaten in one bite. Because they are often served during cocktail hours, it is often desired that a canapé be either salty or spicy, in order to encourage guests to drink more. A canapé may also be referred to as finger food, although not all finger foods are canapés. Crackers or small slices of bread or toast or puff pastry, cut into various shapes, serve as the base for savory butters or pastes, often topped with a "canopy" of such savory foods as meat, cheese, fish, caviar, foie gras, purees or relish.

Traditionally, canapés are built on stale white bread (though other foods may be used as a base), cut in thin slices and then shaped with a cutter or knife. Shapes might include circles, rings, squares, strips or triangles. These pieces of bread are then prepared by deep frying, sautéeing, or toasting. The foods are sometimes highly processed and decoratively applied (i.e. piped) to the base with a pastry bag. Decorative garnishes are then applied. The canapés are usually served on a canapé tray and eaten from small canapé plates. The technical composition of a canapé consists of a base (i.e. the bread or pancake), a spread, a main item, and a garnish. The spread traditionally is either a compound butter or a flavored cream cheese. Common garnishes can range from finely chopped vegetables, scallions, and herbs to caviar or truffle oil.


A Vol-au-vent (French for "windblown" to describe its lightness) is a small hollow case of puff pastry. A round opening is cut in the top and the pastry cut out for the opening is replaced as a lid after the case is filled. Vol-au-vents can accommodate various fillings, such as mushrooms, prawns, fruit, or cheese, but they are almost always savory. [ [ "Epicurious" website : vol-au-vent definition] , referenced August 10, 2007.] [ [ French cuisine] website, referenced August 10, 2007 ]


Barquettes are tiny bits of puff pastry in the shape of boats (barque) which are filled with various savory fillings which are then baked or broiled. [ Beard, "op. cit.", p. 127 ]


A smörgåsbord is a Swedish cold table entrée whose many specialities have been the origin of several common items in the usual array of canapés, such as smoked and fresh fish, gravlax, and various caviars. [ Beard, "op. cit.", p.xiii. ] It is similar to the "zakuskiye" of Russian cuisine.


James Beard, "Hors d'Oeuvre and Canapés". William Morrow & Co. (New York, 1940, 1963, 1985.) ISBN 0-688-04226-0.

See also

* Hors d'œuvre
* Tea sandwich
* Antipasto
* Smorgasbord
* Zakuska
* Meze

External links

* [ Vol-au-vent] - " French cuisine"
* [ canapé] - Food Dictionary at ""
* [ Canapés Recipes]

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