Get to grips with the "rules" for eating canapes - Pic Instagram

It's the tasty little party treats which can be notoriously difficult to eat gracefully. 

Now help is at hand for anyone encountering a canape this Christmas with a list of do’s and don't from Country Life magazine.

Its valuable morsels include advising hosts to offer a cocktail-stick disposal service, while warning guests against the ‘heinous' crime of double dipping. 

What you should know

The magazine's food experts say one should never nibble a canape, while the item itself must never fall to pieces and should have enough texture not to get a soggy bottom.

Somewhat controversially, they say hosts should not provide napkins: “Any canape so messy that it requires a clear up shouldn't be on a plate. Whatever next? A Wet Wipe?”

They advise against the trend for making miniature versions of main meals, saying that “fish and chips and burgers (however diminutive) are not party food”. 

And they say canapes should never be served on spoons – “eating from a large spoon is a private pleasure not a spectator sport; you can never look elegant engaging in this sort of caper”.

Vol-au-vents are not to be considered canapes, while it would be “wise to remember [canapes] are not a meal”.