Our expert offers some tips on how to eat classy snacks with dignity.
They’re the tiny snacks that make it possible for us to try a wide range of different, equally delicious ingredients. They are, of course, the mini-savouries which so tease our palates. Around the world, these are not just a good accompaniment to wines and aperitifs, but have also come to be seen as a great alternative to three-course menus in recent years. Spanish tapas, Italian antipasti, Chinese dim sum, Indian tiffin or mezze from the Middle East have also won our culinary hearts. You can hardly attend a reception, cocktail evening, opening or premiere nowadays without being offered a culinary experience that dispenses with cutlery. The French lovingly refer to them as hors d’oeuvres. They are designed to enable adults to eat using nothing but their fingers.
But that, of course, is precisely the catch with them. Handling such top-end finger-food in a skilful, tactful and appetising manner is a precondition for its stylish enjoyment. Here are a few tips on how to eat such snacks and retain some dignity. Even a piece of pizza can be eaten with style if you want. Just press against the sides a little, and nothing will drip onto your trousers or shirt. The ever-popular fries simply taste best with ketchup. But be careful with the red tomato sauce – less is sometimes more, especially if you then forget to clean the corners of your mouth with a serviette after enjoying them. And what about the cocktail tomato?
This is a popular, and fast, antipasti snack. The danger here lurks when actually biting into it. Remember to keep your mouth closed, and you need not shower your neighbour in the flesh of the delicious fruit. The prawn should always be held at the tail-end before being bitten into. Nobody wants to see how you pick at it with both hands in your mouth in an effort to remove any remaining bits of meat and shell. Serviettes are not just there for decorative purposes, and please don’t just place used toothpicks back in the presentation bowl. The guest after you will thank you for it. Foreign guests should be warned that not everything baked at these latitudes is tempura. Small pork savouries are often concealed in the batter. And finally, one more tip: should you be very hungry, make sure you get a standing table. With a glass in one hand and a savoury in the other, it can be difficult to greet passing throngs of guests.