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The Hospitality Guru (cooking) Back to Basics: Hors D’oeuvres

Updated on October 12, 2015

Cold Starters – hors d’oeuvres froid

Cold starters can be served as either single portions or multiple portions.  A single portion usually consists of a single item, while a multiple portion platter or trolley would offer guests a vriety of items to choose from.

Cold starters, whether they are appetisers or entrees, are usually served before the soup.

Cold single portion starters

These include oysters, smoked salmon, seafood cocktail, crudities, caviar and salads.  These types of starters can be served in a variety of ways.  Salmon would be best on a plate, and seafood cocktail in a glass.  Oysters could be on a platter and caviar in an ice socle.  Although most commonly consisting of one item, a cold starter may be a variety dish, like an antipasto plate.

Variety starters – hors d’oeuvres varies froid

A selection of cold starters is assembled either as a single serve on a plate or as multiple serves.  For multiple serves, the individual items are arranged on raviers (vessles of china, glass or crystal) which are then placed on a platter or trolley.


Examples of cold starters

The following items are popular hors d’oeuvre froid. Many of these items can also be served as cold cocktail starters.

  • Gravelax
  • Prosciutto & melon
  • Terrines
  • Stuffed eggs
  • Artichokes
  • Barquettes
  • Prawns, lobster, scallops
  • Sushi
  • Galantines
  • Pickled herring, oysters
  • Stuffed tomatoes
  • Smoked oysters, trout, herring, eel, mackerel

Hot Starters – Hors d’oeuvres chaud

Hot starters usually consist of a single item. The exceptions are cocktail hors d’oeuvres. These are a selection of bite-size items which are suitable for stand up functions.

Hot single portion starters: These are usually served on plates, and include such dishes as:

  • Tortellini
  • Quiche
  • Seafood crepes
  • Mushroom vol au vents
  • Chicken liver and bacon brochettes
  • Oysters Kilpatrick

Hot cocktail starters – hors d’oeuvres varies-chaud: These are served on platters and include:

  • Bouchees (small vol au vent)
  • Mini quiches
  • Mini spring rolls
  • Marinated chicken wings
  • Sausage rolls
  • Deep-fried seafoods
  • Wontons
  • Goujonettes


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