If you follow me on twitter, you may remember me asking recently about how to create an antipasti plate to suit a glorious red. Thankfully, my guest post has come to my aide.
Antipasto is the perfect way to kick off a dinner party. You need something to get your appetite going, and a plate of meats and cheeses, perhaps with some bread, olives and other extras, is just the thing to do it. Antipasti also make a great choice if you’re just having drinks, and you want to offer something to nibble on too. The great Italian tradition is enjoyed by people everywhere, and it’s especially perfect for the holidays. If you want to offer a range of delicious antipasti to your guests or family, you need to know where to begin. It’s all about the presentation, as well as the flavors. Try these tricks for the perfect platter.
Set the Table
Presentation is a major part of putting together a plate of antipasti that everyone will love. If it looks enticing and exciting, no one will be able to wait to dig in. You can start by looking for a platter or board you like to set out some of your meats and cheeses. You might not get everything on one board, but you can always spread things out. Dress your table with a stylish tablecloth and some smart serviettes too – it can get a little messy. Choose some bright and attractive tableware. Perhaps consider buying some fine Italian pieces, or go for something a bit more rustic.
Use the Best Italian Produce
The star of the show is still the food, so it’s important to make sure it tastes great, as well as looking pretty. Choosing the best Italian produce to star on your meat and cheese board will ensure you have excellent quality offerings for your guests. While it’s fantastic if it actually hails straight from Italy, it doesn’t necessarily need to come from the motherland itself. There’s plenty of beautiful produce to be found at home, like Olympia Provisions capicola and their other Italian charcuterie, like mortadella. Some classic Italian cheeses like parmesan, gorgonzola, and mozzarella will go well with your meats.
Focus on Variety
When you decide which products you want to have on your board and in your side dishes, make sure you get a good variety. You want to have different textures, colors, and flavors so that you have contrasting items for everyone to try. Some flavors might be sweet, while others are sharp, or some crunchy crackers could contrast with some softer bread. Explore different regions of Italy and various types of products. Have some soft cheeses and some harder ones, some cured meats, and some cooked ones. Think about which flavors can go well together.
Present Meats and Cheeses in Different Ways
You can also vary the sizes of things you use, and how you present them. This helps to make it easy to distinguish between different products, as well as making everything more visually pleasing. You might have a little pile of pieces of one cheese, and triangles cut out of another. Some cheeses you might present as a whole wheel or chunk, with a knife so everyone can cut a piece the right size. Sliced meats can be folded and laid out in different ways. Create a little circle of pepperoni or cubes of mortadella
Don’t Forget Extras
While the meats and cheeses are the main stars, you should also have some other things on the side. Think about traditional Italian offerings, like breadsticks, olives, and even a dish of olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. Put some bread out, some fresh and dried fruits, and some oils and vinegar for everyone to drizzle over their food. You might also want to think about what you’re going to offer everyone to drink. Prosecco or wine? Perhaps some classic Italian cocktails? Consider what will go well with your food.
One of the great things about antipasto is that it’s a great interactive way to eat. Everyone spends their time reaching for things, asking others to pass something they want, and building their plate the way they want it. It’s a fun way for everyone to get involved, and it helps to keep the conversation flowing. However, you don’t want to make it too complicated. Try having a couple of elements for people to build their own dish. It could be a bread station where they can add their own toppings or a way for them to put a salad together the way they like it.
Kick off your next dinner event with an interactive, beautifully presented table of antipasti offerings. Everyone will love getting stuck in.