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Ringier 175 Jahre Jubiläum (2499873203) (2).jpg
Tray of canapés
CourseHors d'oeuvre
Place of originFrance
Main ingredientsBase: one of crackers, bread, toast or puff pastry
Topping: savoury butters, spreads, or pastes
VariationsAmuse-bouche, vol-au-vent

A canapé is a type of hors d'œuvre, a small, prepared and often decorative food, consisting of a small piece of bread (sometimes toasted), puff pastry, or a cracker topped with some savoury food, held in the fingers and often eaten in one bite.


The name comes from the French word for sofa,[1] drawing on the analogy that the garnish sits atop the bread as people do on a couch.[2]


Wild salmon canape

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 savory foods as meat, cheese, fish, caviar, foie gras, purées or relish.

Traditionally, canapés are built on stale bread (although other foods such as puff pastry, crackers, or fresh vegetables may be used as a base) cut in thin slices and then shaped with a cutter or knife into circles, rings, squares, strips or triangles. These are then deep fried, sautéed, or toasted, then topped or piped with highly processed and decoratively applied items. Colorful and eye-pleasing garnishes often complete the presentation. The canapés are usually served on a canapé salver and eaten from small canapé plates.

The technical composition of a canapé consists of a base (e.g., the bread or pancake), a spread, a main item, and a garnish. The spread is traditionally 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 pronunciation: ​[vɔlovɑ̃], "blown by the wind") is a small, round canapé made of puff pastry.


The French started offering canapés to their guests for their fêtes[3] in the 18th century, and the English adopted the practice at the end of the following century. One modern version of the canapé is the amuse-bouche, literally a “mouth amuser”, but translated more delicately as “palate pleaser”.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ James Beard, Hors d'Oeuvres and Canapés (William Morrow & Co., New York, 1943, 1963, 1985), p. xiii.
  2. ^ Olver, Lynne. "Sandwiches". The Food Timeline. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  3. ^ Hezel, Anna (December 12, 2019). "It's Canapé Season". Taste. Retrieved December 13, 2019.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Canapés at Wikimedia Commons