Photograph by Monica Arellano-Ongpin

If you’re looking for simple entertaining solutions this summer, antipasto is a great way to go. Italian for “before the meal”, antipasto is typically a cold platter of assorted meats, cheeses, pickled vegetables, olives and breads, often served as an appetizer before the main meal.

Antipasti are to Italians what hors d’oeuvres are to the French, or tapas to the Spanish. The idea is simply to combine interesting and complementary flavors to create a cold plate of appetizers. And while originally created as an appetizer before the meal, today antipasto is enjoyed either before a meal, or as part of an hors d’oeuvres spread, where dinner will not be served.

It doesn’t take much effort to prepare a great combination of flavors. A bit of charcuterie, marinated artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, pickled cucumber or vegetables, olives, rustic bread, and rich cheeses – all of these flavors combine beautifully to create great antipasti platters.

For specialty meats, consider the Cheese Shop.  Our selection of charcuterie includes Genoa Salami, bacon, pepperoni and finocchiona and our meats are free of antibiotics, hormones and nitrates.

Small Plates

For smaller parties, you can create a smaller version of the classic antipasto with two or three items. Some examples of smaller plates include:

•Sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper, with slices of Asiago Stravecchio and olives
•Thinly sliced Genoa salami and Cacio De Roma and crusty bread
•Shaved prosciutto with fresh cantaloupe
•Roasted red peppers with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and toasted focaccia bread
•Pepperoni with olives, capers, or sweet pickles
•Garlic bread with tomato slices and assorted charcuterie
•Grilled vegetables with sliced buffalo mozzarella
•Marinated artichoke hearts with soft cheese like lille coulommiers, brie or camembert, fruit and crackers

You can play with combinations to find one you like.  Although antipasto originates from Italy, these days any complimentary flavors work, so feel free to get creative. Once you have all your components, assembly is a snap.  Bon Appetit!

Consider Antipasto for Summer Entertaining
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