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Antipasto Platters

Literally meaning ‘before the meal’, antipasto platters set the stage. Casual collections of the best from the deli & the garden. Impressive.

Antipasto Platters

Literally meaning ‘before the meal’, antipasto platters set the stage. Casual collections of the best from the deli & the garden. Impressive.
Antipasto Platters

Meat, cheese, vegetables, fruits, nuts & bread. Anything goes. Although in Italy antipasto isn’t meant to be fancy, it’s easy to create a thing of beauty by combining so many varieties of bite-sized colours, textures & flavours… Seasonal fruits are always welcome.

Theme your platter however you like, but the best tip is to find out what your guests do and don’t like, first. Do they like spicy? Is anyone lactose or gluten intolerant? Do they prefer meat to cheese?

3-4 slices of meat per person is a good rule. And around 100g of cheese.
If the platter IS dinner, especially when served with wine, then double the quantities.

What to put on it

  • Marinated Vegetables
  • Olives & a bowl for pits
  • Capers, pickled veggies
  • Cheese at least 2 types
  • Deli Meat (salumi) at least 2 types
  • Dried fruit – figs, dates, apricots, cranberries, berries
  • Nuts – almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts
    Fresh Seasonal Fruit
  • Jams/Compotes/honey
  • Seafood – don’t mix land & sea
  • Crackers/Taralli/Bread

DO’S & DON’TS

  1. Keep it simple.Traditionally, you really only need a couple each of cheese, meats and accompaniments.
  2. Main Event. These days it’s fashionable for antipasto to be the only food served at parties. In which case you can go to town with the varieties of pairings and get as quirky or lavish as you like. A good tip is to use different kinds of boards and serving dishes, cascading at different heights to create a theatrical statement.
  3. Sweet, salty, savoury, bitter. Your mix of delights should have a bit of each. Combinations work best if guests hit two or three flavours in the same bite.
  4. Cheese at Room Temperature. When full flavours and aromas are at their best. Take cheese out of the fridge 45 mins before serving. Serve either pre-sliced from the deli, although chunks with knives to cut them look lovely. Check the cheese guide below for the different categories to chose from. 
  5. Meats. Traditionally pork classics like prosciutto, soppressata and mortadella make an appearance. Salumi can be either lean or fatty, so a balance of both works well. For variety add lean air-dried beef bresaola or roasted beef, chicken or turkey.
  6. Sweet additions. The perfect contrast to salty cheeses which also elevate the flavour. Jams/compotes and quince compliment soft fresh cheeses like ricotta and mozzarella. Blue cheeses are mellowed by a sweet accompaniment. Sharp and aged cheeses love a sweet accompaniment. Tangy/acidic cheeses are subdued.
  7. Crackers/Artisanal Breads. Focaccia, ciabatta, sourdoughs are perfect to fuel main event spreads, but if you’re cooking a large, rich meal later, you might want to skip bread to begin with altogether.
  8. Marinated Vegetables. Include sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, small sweet red peppers stuffed with cheese, grilled eggplant. Serve in small bowls.
  9. Seasonal fruit. Cantaloupe & melon are always a favourite. Fresh figs add a touch of class. Crispy apples & pears pair well with cheddars and cut sharp rich cheeses.
  10. Olives. Chose colours (green, black & red) to compliment and contrast other items. Kalamata are quite salty, sun-dried less so. Bella di Cerignola are colourful, fleshy and always welcome.
  11. Seafood. If you live near a fishing village your choices are endless. In landlocked Alberta, sea lovers can enjoy top quality tuna marinated in EVO, locally smoked salmon as well as a large selection of jarred octopus, shrimp, seafood-medleys & smoked mussels. Shrimp and scallops from the freezer are quickly prepped, fried in garlic mayonnaise.
  12. Eat with your hands. That’s how antipasto is supposed to be eaten, so provide lots of napkins. Toothpicks are fine. Again, as with the olives, a bowl to put the used ones in, is smart.
  13. Drinks. ‘Aprire’ is the verb ‘to open’, so great ‘aperitifs’ or ‘apertivo’ drinks to kick off the evening include Campari, Prosecco and Aperol.

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