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Behold the Canapé 

A serious aperitif deserves a statement snack to match.

THE CANAPÉ — defined as a small cracker or piece of bread garnished with a decorative savoury topping — was a fixture of mid-century entertaining before falling out of vogue for a few decades. Now, ascendant cocktail and wine bar culture has thrust the canapé back into the spotlight as the perfect finger food. “It’s an exciting format,” says Evan Davis, chef at Toronto’s La Banane and Bar Banane. “Each item is only one or two bites, which allows us to develop dishes with more breadth and intensity of flavour.” Here’s a cross-country sampling of these delectable morsels.


Vancouver, B.C.

The tasting menu starts with a selection of whimsical small bites — with each of the blocks of fried chicken acting as a vehicle for a squiggle of chicken paté and a generous dusting of black truffle.


Toronto, Ont.

Among several canapé options at Bar Banane, the Hokkaido sea urchin rests on a custardy brick of toasted brioche brushed with caramelized black-garlic cream that enhances the uni.


Verdun, Que.

Montaditos are Spanish tapas of varying sizes — Beba’s version is a mini sesame bun spread with rich P.E.I. butter and horseradish sauce and topped with Japanese mackerel.


Calgary, Alta.

It’s a cheeky name for a surprisingly elegant tater tot — the Major Tom is a crispy potato cake topped with creamy smoked sturgeon and a crown of pickled onions.


Toronto, Ont.

Is there anything that screams “canapé” more than mini latkes topped with a smear of something creamy and a bloom of lox?


Montreal, Que.

Vin Papillon’s snappy bite is a rarebit anguille fumée canapé, with smoked Kamouraska eel on focaccia, capped with Gruyère Mornay rarebit and a dash of Worcestershire.

— Elizabeth Chorney-Booth