It is nice to have some time before a meal to relax with a drink and enjoy the company of others. Simple snacks, often something salty that you can eat with your fingers, are the perfect complement to a cocktail or a glass of champagne. The drink and the snacks that accompany it are called an aperitif. This pre-meal noshing is not meant to fill you up, but instead to stimulate your appetite so you can fully enjoy the upcoming meal. One or two items will do when selecting your savory aperitif components. The goal is to get big flavor into little bites, so you and your dining companions are satisfied without becoming stuffed. Try any of the following ideas, and let D’Artagnan help you.
· Warm, salty mixed nuts are always a perfect pair with drinks. Toss the nuts in a little duck fat before roasting them in the oven for a flavor boost.
· A small charcuterie platter is an easy aperitif solution. Set out a couple cured meats, like saucisson sec and wild boar prosciutto, along with some crackers, cornichons, and a wedge of French cheese.
· For a Spanish take on the charcuterie platter, slice fully-cooked chorizo sausage and pair with almonds, olives, manchego cheese, and some crusty bread.
· A simple pâté or two with crackers will be just the thing to keep conversation going while dinner is finishing in the oven. If you can’t decide which pate to try,The French Pâté Collection will allow you to sample Pâté de Campagne (a rustic pork pâté), Mousse Truffée (made with chicken and turkey livers, truffles, and port), and Pheasant Terrine Herbette (a terrine that combines pork, pheasant, fennel, and herbs).
· Warm gougeres are light enough to not spoil dinner, yet rich and satisfying. Our truffle butter gougeres are little umami-bombs and perfect alongside a glass of wine.
· Offer up a sliced baguette with an array of spreads, including sun-dried tomato spread, white bean dip, and a wild mushroom tapenade – sautéed wild mushrooms processed with garlic, shallot, thyme, and a splash of brandy.
· Wrap prosciutto around shrimp and roast them in the oven until the shrimp are opaque and the prosciutto is crisp. The shrimp can be served hot or cold alongside cocktail sauce, blue cheese dipping sauce, or just by themselves.
· The richness of foie gras is balanced by most adult beverages. Try D'Artagnan's Mousse of Foie Gras with Candied Hazelnuts, which combines foie gras with the sweetness of raisins and savory hazelnuts. With foie gras, a little bit goes a long way, so only a few bites per person are necessary, especially if served with a little something else to nibble on.