Say no to boring dip platters and lift your antipasto game this year. There’s no need to stick to the status quo with these exciting dishes!
In Italian, antipasto means ‘before the meal’. And while it’s traditionally seen as a starter, Australians are getting creative and turning these simple appetizers into full-fledged meals – perfect for entertaining guests of all kinds.
Some of the first things that come to mind when you are shopping for ingredients include cheese, deli meats and crackers. But whether it’s a quiet cheese and wine night with the girls or a boozy birthday brunch with extended family and friends, you can customise your antipasto platter to suit the mood.
Here are 5 ways to make a sharing plate more exciting and become a trend setter among your guests:
Italians love bread and a crusty ciabatta or fresh baguette is the perfect antipasto accompaniment. You can smother it in cheese, drizzle it in olive oil or dip it in pesto to fill up the platter and make it more substantial.
If you really want to impress your guests, skip the bakery and make the bread at home so they can smell it baking as they walk into the room and eat it while it’s warm (yum). Or, take this to the next level with cheesy pull apart bread, full of herbs and garlic, and perfect for the kids at the table to enjoy.
Your typical antipasto platter is probably home to some classic crudités already, such as chopped up celery and carrot sticks. But have you ever thought about adding roasted or marinated veggies such as sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers and baked eggplant slices? Covered in Italian oils and herbs, these will add flavour to your platter, while making it look more authentic.
While an antipasto platter is traditionally savoury, there are no rules saying that you can’t add fruit. In fact, we encourage it. The bright green of the grapes and the red of the strawberries will add a pop of colour to your beautifully decorated sharing plate, creating a wow factor for your guests. We recommend using a combination of fresh and dried fruits including apricots and dates – and don’t forget the soft crunch of nuts including cashews, almonds and pistachios. You can even combine some of these fruits with cold meats for a sophisticated touch – from our experience, prosciutto wrapped figs are always a hit!
Whether it’s a chunk of honeycomb, a small pot of cherry syrup or block of dark chocolate, having something sweet will add something extra to your share platter, so you’ll be able to cater for the sweet tooth in your friendship group.
The perfect pairing
Don’t forget to pair your antipasto platter with a glass of wine. We recommend a sweet white wine such as a Reisling or Gewurztraminer, but you can always reach for a rich red such as a Merlot.