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Modern vs. Classic Finger Food – How Finger Food has Evolved

Finger food

Finger foods have been around for a long time and over the years; they’ve gained more sophistication and elegance. Various cuisines have contributed to the concept, creating new finger foods for everyone to enjoy. Today, there are thousands of different recipes out there.

Finger foods have excited, in one form or the other and have been a vital part of social gatherings, events, and parties all over the world. These days, no event menu is complete without canapés, appetizers or hors d’oeuvres. They can be something as simple as cheese and ham on stick or complicated little combinations that lead to an eruption of flavour in your mouth. Let’s have a look at finger foods in detail.

What is Finger Food and Why was it Created?

In essence, they are foods that you can eat with one hand, without the use of utensils or cutlery. If you want to eat something, all you need to do it pick it up with your fingers and put it in your mouth. That’s why the’re called finger foods.

No one really knows where the story of finger foods began. We do know, however, why they came into being. People wanted to eat while still retaining use of their other hand. Different cuisines in the world have their own versions of it.

Development Over the Years

One would argue that finger foods have existed for as long as human beings have been eating. There were no utensils and the like thousands of years ago, after all. However, there are several key points in history where finger foods were recognized with their own unique identity.

Sandwiches in Europe

The sandwich is arguably the most famous and popular finger food available today, although some might not consider it to be that at all. It started out as a finger food and has an interesting little piece of history behind it. While most food historians agree that sandwiches might have existed even before they became well-known by their current name, the sandwich that we eat now can be traced back to the Earl of Sandwich.

According to the tale, Lord John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, was an avid gambler. One day, during a 24 hour long gambling run back in 1762, the Earl got frustrated when he was forced to set down the cards to eat. He demanded that his cook make something that he could eat with one hand. The cook hastily rushed to fulfil the demand and presented the earl with thin slices of meat in two pieces of bread. The food was an instant hit.

Food items resembling sandwiches have existed for a long time. In fact, some historians speculate that the Earl saw grilled pita breads and foods resembling sandwiches during a tour of Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. He most likely copied the concept from them. Evidence shows that it was present in Ancient Greece and Rome as well as other European countries.


This item originated in France around the mid 1800s and is considered the quintessential finger food by all. The word canapé refers to sliced bread without crusts that cushions the ingredients on top of it. When the’re fried, they’re called croutons. Unlike the sandwich, that has meat between two slices of bread, canapés have meat or other ingredients on top of a single slice of bread.

Like sandwiches, they can be made in a variety of different combinations. The item also became popular in the United States during the Prohibition Era. Several bars and clubs went underground. The bar owners realized that if their patrons were caught drunk, they would be in trouble. Because of that, they started supplying people with finger foods like canapés. After the prohibition era, the dish remained a popular part of menus in cocktail and dinner parties.

Developments Over the Years

There are thousands of different sandwiches and canapés out there. There are different types of Panini, vegetable and meat combinations. Today, finger foods are inspired by Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Greek, French, Spanish, etc influences. Depending on the event, you may find finger foods such as meat cuts layered with different cheeses, small sausages, chicken wings, mini burgers and mini meat pies, bean curd, veggies and tofu on multi-grain sandwiches and veg fingers etc.

The industry is constantly evolving and taking age old concepts a step further. There is so much potential for experimentation with finger foods, it’s unlikely that chefs and professionals would ever stop creating new recipes for them.

At Ganache Patisserie you will find fantastic breads and delicious croissants, french cakes, pastries and savoury treats for everyday consumption as well as for special occasions. Come; explore our scrumptious world of goodies.

Thanks for reading,
Ganache Patisserie
(02) 9967 2882