The season for dinner parties, family gatherings, and festive cocktail hours is fast approaching.

Thankfully, serving easy appetizers no longer means settling for uninspired, mass-market standbys. Diverse aged meats, pates, and frozen bite-sized appetizers, like lobster mac ‘n’ cheese croquettes or crispy samosas, help your customers cut down preparation time without sacrificing taste and quality. Here are 10 great options to help hosts get out of the kitchen and enjoy the really important part of any size shindig—the people! 

Photos: Mark Ferri; Food Styling: Leslie Orlandini; Props Styling: Francine Matalon-Degni 


Dufour Pastry Kitchens Mediterranean Shrimp. These free-form tarts are filled with a blend of garlic shrimp, fresh scallions, and ricotta salata. Your customers can simply pop the frozen tarts in the oven for 15-20 minutes and have aromatic and tasty finger food ready to go. Dufour makes many other party nibbles such as bite-size pizzas, mini tartlets, mini empanadas, and more. 
dufourpastrykitchens.com


Golfera Chiara Mortadella. Golfera meats are produced in the ancient Italian village of Lavezzola, famous for charcuterie. This mortadella is available with or without Sicilian pistachios and black Bologna truffles. Made with pork shoulder and lardo, the mortadellas have a delicate but full-bodied flavor and a velvety texture. The animals are treated humanely and the meats are free of dairy, gluten, monosodium glutamate, and nitrates. Slice and serve solo, or pair with olives, cheese, condiments, and bread. golfera.it 


Haig’s Delicacies Falafel. Haig’s started as a small neighborhood store, and though they are now available across the country, the company’s classic Mediterranean foods reflect the quality and authenticity of its humble origins. These vegan, protein-rich falafel bites are made with ground garbanzo beans and authentic spices, and come with a tahini dipping sauce for an easy finger-food offering. haigsdelicacies.com


Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co. Lobster Mac & Cheese. Lobster delicacies, including this marriage of sweet Maine lobster with macaroni and cheddar-mascarpone sauce, are Hancock’s specialty. This tasty dish comes in a variety of sizes and formats, making it a versatile appetizer for any size gathering. Serving options include party size, croquettes, and sliders, as well as a gluten-free option. hancockgourmetlobster.com


Les Moulins Mahjoub Organic Olives.These artisanal Tunisian olives make an easy silverware-free nibble for a gathering of any size. The olives are cured using the two simple components of salt and time, allowing the curing properties of natural brine to develop for about nine months. Varieties include Meski Olives with Lemon and Fennel, with Garlic and Wild Herbs, with Harissa, and Natural Sahli Olives. lesmoulinsmahjoub.com. 


Les Trois Petits Cochons organic pate and mousse. Organic Pâté de Campagne, Wild Boar Pâté, Mousse Truffee, Vegan Terrine, Andouille Sausage, and Rillettes de Porc (in a jar) from Les Trois Petits Cochons, make a visually distinctive holiday-party display. Serve with crackers or mini-toasts, accompanied by cornichons. 3pigs.com


Lucky Foods Kimchi Spring Rolls. The kimchi in these vegan rolls is mixed with carrot, onion, bean thread, non-GMO tofu, and seasoned with chili pepper, fresh garlic, ginger, and sesame oil. They come pre-cooked and ready to serve in packs of four with a sweet-and-sour dipping sauce, and are available in the traditional crispy flour wrapper or gluten-free. luckyfood.com


Maple Leaf Farm Duck Quesadillas. Maple Leaf Farm’s duck products use high-quality birds raised on local, family-owned farms. The Duck Quesadilla is made with traditional flour tortillas filled with hardwood-roasted duck leg meat and spicy pepperjack cheese. mapleleaffarms.com


The Perfect Bite Co. Everything Dog in a Blanket. Topped with a blend of sesame, caraway, and poppy seeds, these uncured beef hot dogs in puff pastry are highly flavorful on their own. Suggest your customers pair with a favorite dipping sauce or mustard to really give these dogs the royal treatment. theperfectbiteco.com


Saffron Road Crispy Samosas. Saffron Road’s samosas come in both Vegetable and Saag Paneer varieties, with light and flaky phyllo pastry hand-wrapped around delicately spiced but hearty vegetarian fillings. All of Saffron Road’s savory halal snacks and hors d’oeuvres are made with premium sustainably farmed, antibiotic-free ingredients, and vegetarian-fed meats. saffronroadfood.com

Related: Buyers' Picks: Charcuterie Stars; Category Spotlight: Crunching on Crackers


Leska Tomash is a freelance writer who has been immersed in culinary culture for more than 20 years, including working as a server at the James Beard Award-winning Fore Street Restaurant. Together with her husband and other partners, she owns two restaurants in Portland, Maine—Rhum and Bramhall.