Building a dynamic culinary experience for a wedding is more than selecting a meal for dinner. Hors d’oeuvres offer guests a little something before dinner during the cocktail hour portion of your event. Typically smaller than a main entree, an hors d’oeuvre is often designed to be eaten by hand with cold and/or hot options. The amount of food needed during cocktail hour is best decided with the consultation of a catering professional such as Vibrant Occasions Catering. There are many factors to consider with the number of guests expected as well as the menu items chosen throughout the event. A mixture of light bites and filling finger foods can offer a well-rounded cocktail hour that keeps people satisfied, but ready for more. Hors d’oeuvres can be passed or served as a stationary display. With so many factors to consider, we have compiled a list of our favorite artisanal options that are sure to impress guests with not only their flavor, but also their composition, presentation and conversation-starter capacity. After all, cocktail hour is a time to mingle, so give friends and family something to talk about.
This appetizer tastes as good as it looks. Avocado steak toast topped with smoked beef tenderloin and crispy onion tanglers will most certainly impress your guests. If you are in search of a crowd-pleaser that looks “fancy,” filling for any appetite and is good (I mean super good!) then look no further than this party favorite. Make this one eco-fabulous by utilizing local farm meat from your region. We love Gann Family Farms and The Farm at Barefoot Bend in our area, when applicable.
Turn an Italian finger food into a modern experience by incorporating an injector containing balsamic vinegar. As invitees take a bite, the injector is simultaneously pulled out while squeezing the dropper for an explosion of flavor. This presentation resembles something like a science experiment and creates a fun concoction for guests to marvel. Enjoy this fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomato, and fresh basil on a pipette filled with aged balsamic.
Take a soul food American classic to new heights as a bite-size treat. Each carefully built morsel can be topped with fresh fruits like blueberries or strawberries and drizzled with maple syrup. Turn them into a holiday item by using cranberries or cherries as each recipe can be adjusted according to season. Finally drizzle with maple or bourbon syrup for a sweet and savory taste.
Try a perfectly packaged dish that is easy to handle while socializing and a great way to eat your veggies! Vegetables can be swapped out according to individual tastes whereby celery, broccoli, peppers or carrots would make a crunchy feast accented with a creamy house-made hummus. Top this item with marinated feta for an enhanced, yet subtle Greek flavoring.
This beloved New York-style fare showcases a thinly sliced filet of house-smoked salmon, sandwiched between adorable mini bagel buns. Flavors from a dilled cream cheese spread on the bagels and topped off with a single carefully placed caper will make it hard for guests to eat just one. While classically they make an amazing addition to breakfast or brunch, they work just as well for an evening affair before dinner is served.
Jarcuterie is a play on the word, charcuterie. Instead of displaying a customized selection of charcuterie on a traditional board for grazing, the same sweet and salty party snacks are artfully stacked in small jars. This style of packaging is easy to manage while mingling and socializing. Had enough? No problem, simply close the lid and save as a snack for later. They also make great party favors for attendees to take home.
Antipasto, loosely translated to “before the pasta”, is an Italian favorite. Antipasto skewers are yet another way to serve charcuterie in a handheld fashion. Guests can enjoy delicious bites of cheeses, meats, fruits and vegetables with so many assortments to choose from. It makes a fun addition to cocktail hour festivities.
These party-sized beef meatballs tossed in a delicious Asian barbeque sauce create the perfect flavor-packed party snack. While they make an excellent addition to an hors d’oeuvres menu, saucy Asian meatballs are also delicious for entree-style meals served over rice or noodles and tossed with vegetables. The versatility of this dish and the zesty Asian flavor make it a great conversation starter for any affair.
When guests sample these fresh mushroom caps stuffed with a blend of cheeses and seasoned bread crumbs and baked until gooey, they’ll have a hard time stopping themselves from eating just one. This recipe is a decadently creamy and cheesy delight that is always a party pleaser and often a favorite for guests. The moisture from the mushroom itself when fused with the buttery breadcrumb mixture makes a perfect combination. This one is a must-have as people will be talking about this item for days after the event.
Who wouldn’t love applewood-smoked bacon skewers caramelized with sugar and toasted pecans? Sure to please any bacon lover, the sweet and salty combination offers a crunchy bite right off the skewer. During the holidays, a bit of cinnamon can be added to make the taste more festive. Bacon praline skewers can be served on a platter or upright from a vase. Both presentation styles look beautiful, but the vase option will leave more space on the table for other items.
About the author: Chef Serge Krikorian and his wife, Mary, started their catering business in 2002. Having catered thousands of events over the years as Dinner’s Ready, they launched Vibrant Occasions Catering, a new name that more accurately depicts the level of food and service provided at weddings and social events. After years of dreaming about owning a mobile kitchen, in December 2020, Serge and Mary launched Our Mobile Kitchen with the intention of providing fresh, 5-star quality chef-prepared cuisine to patrons visiting where the mobile kitchen is parked or on site for fully catered weddings and social or corporate events. Our Mobile Kitchen will also deliver special orders to corporate offices and special events. @vibrantoccasionscatering