From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Appetizers, often referred to as an Hors d'oeuvre or the first course, are food items served before the main courses of a meal. If there is an extended period between when guests arrive and when the meal is eaten (for example during a cocktail hour), these might also serve the purpose of sustaining guests during the wait. Appetizers are sometimes served with no meal afterward. This is the case with many reception and cocktail party events.
Though any food served prior to the main course is technically an appetizer (hors d'oeuvre), the phrase is generally limited to individual items, not crudités, cheese or fruit. For example, a glazed fig topped with mascarpone and wrapped with prosciutto is considered an "hors d'oeuvre," whereas figs on a platter are not.
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