Those words all mean something different depending on what country you’re from and what era you’re talking about. The reason I mention that is because many of those words (hors d’oeuvre, amuse bouche, entree etc..) are French but are not used with the same meaning as their French counterparts – and even in France, they don’t have the same meaning today as they did 100 years ago.
Would you say an apetizer is the same thing as a hors d’oeuvre? If yes, nowadays in France, a hors d’oeuvre is the same thing as what us French call “Entrée”, which is the first plated dish served once you sit at the table. So it would be the same thing as a starter…. right? In the past when formal meals had 12 courses, all those words had a very specific meaning but today everything is kinda blurred together.
In France a typical meal consists of:
• Amuse Bouches (single bite apps served to standing crowd or at the table before you place your order).
• Entrée (starter or first course)
• Plat principal (entrée)
• Coffee and chocolates
In France an Apéritif is an alcohol (typically fortified wines, pastis, or champagne or kir, etc…) usually served before you sit at the table, along with amuse bouches, or as we really call them at home, amuse gueules, along with some olives, salted roasted nuts, cubed cheese, balled cantaloupe, etc.
A few typical starters served we serve at home in France:
• Shredded carrots & vinaigrette, soft boiled eggs
• Shaved red cabbage & vinaigrette
• Cantaloupe and prosciutto,
• Charcuteries (pate, terrines, rillettes, etc..)