How to Assemble the Best Antipasti

Tickling the palate with savory local flavors,  antipasti (or antipasto if singular) is the first course of a formal Italian meal. Offering a compilation of regional favorites, these beloved plates can be adorned with cured meats, salted or fried fish, assorted cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, marinated porcini mushrooms, really anything at all. The only requirement is that these small shared bites are delicious. After all, they’re meant to inspire the rest of your meal. 




Thanks to the viral sensation of board building, we’ve all come to admire an elegantly crafted charcuterie board. While you can certainly choose to utilize an antipasti platter as such, it is not meant to be a placeholder for a meal, but rather leave diners hungry for more. A good rule of thumb while planning out your antipasti platter is to account for 4-5 bites per guest. You want to offer them salty and savory tastes that will ignite their desire for more. 

Below is a guide to preparing the best antipasti platter to welcome your friends and family to the table with. Of course, substitutions in any way shape or form are not only acceptable but encouraged. When in doubt, use what is fresh and locally sourced! 

Cured Meats and Fish 

Less is more when thinking about what cured meats or fish you’d like to include on your antipasti platter. If you have a local butcher or fish monger who you trust on such matters, ask them what they have that will add a pop of flavor and savory goodness. If you’re heading to the store, one cured meat such as prosciutto or soppressata will do. Add a tin of good sardines marinated in olive oil, smoked muscles, or good old fashioned anchovies and you’re off to the races.


Antipasti Cheese



Remember, this is just to wet the appetite, so don’t go too crazy on your cheese selection. One cheese is plenty, but if you simply must have two, we’d recommend you choose one soft and one hard, preferably one cow or sheep cheese and one goat. Good cheese is best served at room temperature, so be sure to bring them out an hour before serving so they have time to warm up. 


Pestos & Spreads Picnic



This is where you get to have some fun. From quick pickled cucumbers to strawberry preserves, caper pestos and marinated mushrooms, the tasty bites you offer alongside your meat and cheese will set your antipasti platter apart. You’ll want to have something spreadable, such as Bona Furtuna’s Green Olive Tapenade or Black Olive Tapenade. Our Wild Fennel and Almond Pesto is an excellent choice if you’re serving a sharp goat ricotta forte, while a funky Sicilian primo sale sheep cheese will pair wonderfully with our Sweet Pepper Pesto. A bowl full of roasted nuts deliver a savory-sweet crunch and will never go untouched, while a dipping dish of exquisite extra virgin olive oil will appease even the pickiest of eaters. Just be sure to include some fresh bread and crackers to go along with it. 

What to Drink

Salt begs for something fresh with a touch of sweetness. Kicking off your meal with a bottle of sparkling wine such as a Lambrusco or a Trento will feel celebratory while allowing for the characteristics of the wine to complement your platter beautifully. If you’d prefer to go with something still, try an elegant Piedemontese Cortese white or a unique Etna rosato from Sicily. 



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