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LET’S DISH! Let’s Talk About Canapes

By MaryAnn Miano

Planning a wedding for a large group of people is no simple undertaking. However, most couples seek the guidance of caterers and various venue party planners to guide them. But what can the engaged couple do when planning for a small celebration, attempting to put together a menu that is special and celebratory, without their having the skills of a gourmet chef?

Such foods do exist and can look beautiful and attractive on a buffet table and for the cocktail hour, yet be simple enough for anyone to put together. Then the bride and groom can place their focus on joining together as one with friends and family to bear witness, knowing tasty and elegant hors d’oeuvres await them.

One of many great wedding finger foods are canapes. Originating in France, the canape (meaning “sofa” in French) has three layers: the base, the spread and the topper. It is a simple piece of bread, puff pastry, crackers or toast with a savory topping. Typically, a flavored cream cheese spread is placed on the bread of choice, and then the topping is added.  

Toppings can be creative. Try slicing boiled eggs, salmon, shrimp, smoked meats or sausage.  Have a few with tangy vegetables and another group with sweet fruits. The cheese spread mixes nicely with toppings such as these.  

Your imaginative side can cut small slices of bread into various shapes, and you can use different flavored butters instead of cheese as the spread. This pairs well with a topping of caviar, foie gras, purees or relish. Remember, too, that some canapes taste better hot and some can be eaten cold.

The key to the beauty of canapes is the way they are arranged. Consider taste, color and texture. Make them look inviting and unique on the platter. Canapes will be one of many other finger foods you might present at your wedding, so keep the assortment interesting to the eye. 

You can have separate platters for savory and sweet canapes. Generally, the savory canapes disappear quickly, so think about four savory canapes to every one sweet you present.  Canapes are purposefully designed for using one’s fingers while standing up. Guests will have a drink in the other hand, so a good canape not only tastes delicious and looks pretty but can be easily eaten with one hand and all in one bite. A canape that does not fall apart or cause a guest to choke would be considered a successful canape!

If you are putting your own menu together for the cocktail hour, here are some delicious and eye-appealing canape recipes to try:



– 1 cup mayonnaise

– 3 ounces cream cheese, softened

– 1 tablespoon grated onion

– 1 tablespoon minced chives

– ½ teaspoon cider vinegar

– ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

– 1 garlic clove, minced

– ¼ teaspoon paprika

– 1/8 teaspoon curry powder

– 1/8 teaspoon each dried oregano, thyme, basil, parsley flakes and dill weed

– 1 loaf (1 pound) white or rye bread

– 2 medium cucumbers, scored and thinly sliced

– Diced pimientos and additional dill weed


1. In a blender or food processor, combine the mayonnaise, cream cheese, onion, chives, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and seasonings. Cover and process until blended. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

2. Using a 2 ½” biscuit cutter, cut out circles from bread slices. Spread mayonnaise mixture over bread; top with cucumber slices. Garnish with pimientos and dill.

Recipe from



– 4 ounces Mascarpone cheese

– Confectioners’ sugar to taste

– 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

– 4 ounces ready-made salted caramel

– ¼ cup grapes

– ¼ cup pineapple chunks

– ¼ cup kiwi slices

– ¼ cup sliced strawberries

– ¼ cup mango slices

– ¼ cup berries of choice (blueberries, raspberries, red currant, black berries)

– 36 RITZ Crackers

– Small cookie cutters: butterflies, flowers and various shapes to make your chosen design


1. Mix the Mascarpone cheese, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl until combined. Taste and adjust sweetness if necessary. 

2. Spread a little Mascarpone cheese or ready-made salted caramel thinly onto crackers. This is your “glue” for the fruit topping. Don’t overfill the crackers, otherwise the toppings will slide off. 

3. Use the cookie cutter to create fun shapes of butterflies, flowers and other themed designs for your fruit tarts.

4. Top each cracker with cut out fruits in the shape of butterflies, dragon flies, flowers, etc.  

Recipe from

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