How To Assemble The Best Antipasto Platter

04/03/2017 12:05 EDT | Updated 04/03/2017 12:05 EDT
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assortment of delicious antipasti, close-up

Few culinary offerings are as satisfying and easy to assemble as antipasto, a beautiful selection of cured meats, cheeses, olives, dips and bread. In Italy, the dish is traditionally served at the beginning of the meal, but we think anytime is the perfect time to indulge in a plate of goodness with a glass of wine.

On our quest for the perfect antipasto platter, we partner with the Italian Trade Commission to list the things you need for the ultimate version.

cured meats

Cured meats

Mortadella Bologna PGI, Prosciutto di Parma PDO, Speck Alto Adige PGI and Bresaola della Valtellina PGI are just some of the many delicious cured meats one should be able to find on an antipasto platter. When it comes to prosciutto, imitations won’t do. Italian-made prosciutto from Parma, for example, can’t be beat. Pigs are raised at an altitude of no higher than 900 meters and fed a strict diet of grain and whey, which gives the meat a delicious and unique flavour that can’t be reproduced elsewhere.

burrata

Cheese

Parmigiano Reggiano PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), Grana Padano PDO, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO, Burrata, Gorgonzola PDO, Pecorino and Fontina PDO are just some examples of Italian formaggio you can add to your antipasto platter. Italy takes pride in being a great cheese-producing country and from Rome to Naples you can find all sorts of diverse offerings to make your mouth water.

olives

Olives

Is there anything better than brined olives with a glass of wine or beer? Italy specializes in salt-cured and oil-cured black and green olives. From bright-green Sicilian Nocellara del Belice PDO olives to dark Taggiasche olives, there is no shortage of deliciousness to sample.

bread

Breads and flatbreads

An antipasto bursting with flavours is no good without something more subtle to compliment it. Crusty white bread, rustic whole wheat or focaccia with rosemary are just some of the many delicious varieties Italian bakeries have to offer.

marinated artichoke hearts

Vegetables

Whether fresh, cooked or marinated, an authentic Italian antipasto needs vegetables. Artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, grilled eggplants, fennel, carrots and radishes are easy ways to add both colour and freshness to your platter.

figs

Fruits

A bright and colourful array of cut-up and sliced fruits will add pizazz to any platter. Go with seasonal and fresh, as dictated by the season and your area’s local produce. Berries, grapes and sliced pears are delicious and you can jazz those offerings up by adding wine-poached pears or figs to the mix.

Whatever you pick to assemble your antipasto platter, remember that simple is the key. It doesn’t have to be fancy but quality and variety do matter. Go with a plethora of products that will please your guests’ palate and provide a glimpse into Italy’s vast and sumptuous culinary scene. As much as possible, heed the Italian Trade Commission’s advice and try to purchase Italian-made products. While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, when it comes to antipasto platters, you’re always better off with with the real deal.