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Hors d'oeuvre (UK pron.: // or /ɔːˈdɜːvr(ə)/, US //; French: [ɔʁ dœvʁ] ( listen), literally "apart from the [main] work") or the first course, are food items served before the main courses of a meal. The French (singular and plural) is hors d’œuvre; in English, the œ ligature is usually replaced by the digraph "oe" with the plural often written as "hors d'oeuvres" and pronounced //. It is never pronounced [hɔrz dɘ'vɔrz]. There are several related terms, such as a one-bite appetizer, an amuse-bouche (or other terms below, under: See also).
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, in the same way that apéritifs are served as a drink before meals. Hors d'oeuvre are sometimes served with no meal afterward. This is the case with many reception and cocktail party events.
Hors d'oeuvre may be served at the dinner table as a part of the meal, or they may be served before seating. Hors d'oeuvre prior to a meal are either rotated by waiters or passed. Stationary hors d'oeuvre served at the table may be referred to as "table hors d'oeuvre". Passed hors d'oeuvre may be referred to as "butler-style" or "butlered" hors d'oeuvre.
Though any food served prior to the main course is technically an 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.
Examples of Hors d'oeuvre include:
Swiss cuisine (Schynige Platte)
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