These delicious snacks pair perfectly with Domaine de Baumard Cremant de Loire "Carte Turquoise," NV, 50% Chenin Blanc, 50% Cabernet Franc ($21):
"The presence of green apple and golden raspberry pairs incredibly well with the mix of cheeses and black sesame," says Velo. Add the light acidity from this sparkling wine and it is a great match."
In addition to being a delicious appetizer, these bites are great as croutons on salads or as "meat" balls for vegetarian pasta dishes.
To sip, Velo recommends André Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, NV Grand Cru, 100% Pinot Noir ($30):
"If the lush cherry, strawberry, and cream are not enough to complement the goat cheese and spice from the black pepper and hot red pepper, the decadent, fruity finish should seal the deal."
- Recipe: Goat Cheese Poppers with Honey
The best bubbly to serve with these tasty bites? Diebolt-Vallois Champagne, NV Blanc de Blanc, 100% Chardonnay ($36):
"This bubbly is rich and toasty—just right with the herbs and flaky puff pastry," says Michael Velo, bubbly expert from the Carriage House Restaurant in Chicago.
- Recipe: Mini Beef Wellingtons
Think of this recipe as a deconstructed Shrimp Po' Boy without the bread. Marinated and grilled shrimp get even more flavor from a tangy rémoulade with capers, lemon juice and a dash of hot sauce.
- Recipe: Grilled Shrimp with Rémoulade
Almost any flavorful cheese works in these light-as-air bites. Try Cheddar in place of the Gruyère, and stir in 3 slices chopped cooked bacon or prosciutto. Or substitute 1⁄4 cup crumbled blue cheese, and add 1⁄4 cup finely chopped pecans.
- Recipe: Cheese Puffs
Taramasalata is a creamy Greek dip featuring carp roe, or tarama. A popular brand of roe, Krinos Tarama ($7), is available nationwide at specialty foods stores or at amazon.com. Get creative: Use golden whitefish roe ($12 for 2 ounces), available at californiacaviar.com. Save black roe for other uses; it will turn this dip an unappetizing gray color.
- Recipe: Taramasalata with Pita Chips
These fudgy treats—which you can make ahead and freeze in an airtight container, unsliced, for up to three weeks—are an ideal addition to a cocktail party menu.
Since the scallops take only two minutes to cook, you can make the avocado mixture ahead of time and then refrigerate until ready to cut down on prep time the day of your event.
- Recipe: Scallop-and-Avocado Tostadas
Give this traditional appetizer a little something extra by mixing in fresh cooked lobster meat. If you’re on a budget, you can substitute lump crabmeat or cooked, chopped shrimp.
- Recipe: Lobster Deviled Eggs
The perfect sidekick to Smoked Salmon Mousse Canapés, according to Velo, is Mionetto Brut Prosecco, NV, 100% Prosecco ($14):
"The fresh white peach harmonizes with the tarragon, and the hint of sweetness cuts the richness of the salmon."
- Recipe: Smoked Salmon Mousse Canapés