What have these words all in common besides being French and relating to food (de la nourriture) in small bites size (une bouchée)?

They are all dishes (des mets) that are served before a meal (un repas) as pre-dinner nibbles (des bouchées apéritives) for the infamous customary French tradition l’apéro:


However, despite having common characteristics, they’ve got their own gustative uniqueness.

  • Le canapé: according to the Larousse

(Définition Larousse) it’s served (servi) on a small slice of bread (une tranche de pain), topped (garnie) with some filling (une garniture).

  • Le petit-four: It can be savoury or sweet (sucré ou salé). If sweet (sucré), it can be a biscuit (un petit gâteau sec) or a miniature cake (un gâteau de petite taille). If savoury (salé), it could be described as a pre- starter or an amuse-bouche, a term borrowed from French and in use in posh restaurants. In either case, they’re small and should be eaten in one bite (une bouchée).
  • L’amuse-gueule ou petit grignotage is like the amuse-bouche; however, it’s always savoury and unlike its posh cousin, it doesn’t have to be sophisticated — it’s served with a pre-dinner drink (l’apéro). A good example of it could be peanuts (des cacahuètes), olives (des olives), ou savoury biscuits (biscuits-apéro).

So, to summarise what they all have in common is mainly their size and that are all served before a meal, but they come in all sorts!

To make and sample some tasty canapés, join us on for our next French cooking workshop, we have a few spaces left.