Hosts and hostesses, rejoice! The entertaining season is upon us and we’ve got the perfect recipe for a fun-filled afternoon in the sun – the antipasto platter! Tasty finger food paired with some delicious wine will guarantee smiles all round – so to help you master your next soiree with ease; we’ve created the ultimate guide to perfecting the Antipasto Platter.
The Tools of The Trade
You’ll need a nice serving board. We personally like a round timber board – but basically just opt for anything that’s generous in size and knife-friendly. If you’re entertaining a lot of guests, mix things up by having two or three wooden boards loaded with antipasto and cheese!
To serve, whip out your cheese knife set, tongs, some toothpicks, napkins and a bottle opener.
The aim is to showcase a variety of different flavours and textures. You’ll find that cheese can be broken down into four basic categories: aged, soft, hard or blue. For an impressive platter, we’d recommend selecting one cheese from each category. Below are some of our recommendations (and remember, try before you buy!).
Aged: Aged Cheddar, Gruyere, Manchego or Gouda
Soft: Roquefort, Camembert, Brie or Constant Bliss
Firm: Parmigiano, Grana Padano or Pecorino Romano
Blue: Italian Gorgonzola, Maytag Blue Cheese or French Roquefort
Start with a selection of cured deli meats such as pepperoni, salami and prosciutto. If you are pescetarian, opt for some smoked salmon instead. Vegetarians, leave this section out and create a delicious rainbow with the below foods.
… And Everything Else
To complement your platter, pair your cheese and meat selection with a tasteful variety of breads including: sliced baguette, bread sticks, and lavish crackers. Variety is key when thinking of your savoury companions.
If you have a huge sweet tooth, jarred condiments such as sweet preserves, honey or quince paste pair well with cheese or prosciutto and are easy to assemble and fuss-free.
Fresh grapes, figs and dates are your best friend. You can even take it up a notch by adding a slab of honeycomb to your platter!
Prefer savoury over sweet? Spice things up with some hummus, olives, marinated capsicum, dill pickles, stuffed chillies and grilled eggplant. Filling and the perfect companion for cured meats, pickled vegies and salty elements are a crowd pleaser (and always the first to go!).
When serving cheese, make sure to serve your delicious assortment at room temperature. To do this, remove cheeses from the fridge at least one hour before assembling your platter. Separate cheeses with a strong smell. Quite often the ‘stinky’ cheeses overpower the delicate ones.
Be infinitely creative compiling your platter. Once you’ve separated your cheeses, assemble the remaining ingredients on the platter to your liking!
Tip: When compiling your platter, be sure to set out a separate knife for each cheese and small serving tongs for your sides. Not only will this offer more serving utensils for your guests, multiple knives will keep your cheeses from morphing into one flavour.