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I love to serve Antipasto Trays when we have a gathering of family and friends. Antipasto is commonly known as the first course of a traditional Italian meal. Here in America, they might also be called a cheese and cracker tray, a charcuterie board, or simply appetizers.
(Post modified with new photos on 11/17/22.)
The combinations are endless. Hard and soft cheeses. Cured meats. A variety of nuts. Fresh and dried fruits. An assortment of breads and crackers. Relishes, plus sweet and savory spreads.
They can be large or simple. For as few or as many guests as you desire. Serve them on a large revolving tray, a wooden board, or on a platter.
Serve with your favorite wine such as Prosecco, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Riesling. Or a nice dry red such as Chianti, Pinot Noir, or Sangiovese.
Ingredients Needed to Make Antipasto Trays
Hard and Soft Cheese
When selecting cheese for your tray, be sure to include both hard and soft cheese for variety. Also consider placement of the cheese with fruits and spreads that may go well together. I like to include at least two or three varieties of cheese for a small tray or as many as 6 for a larger tray. Again, don’t be afraid to try something new or bold, such as Blue Cheese.
- Aged Cheddar
- Smoked Gouda
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Blue Cheese
Cured Meat for the Antipasto Trays
Try to include at least 2-3 cured meats for your tray. Sometimes I like to roll the softer slices for a nice visual change.
- Cured Ham
An antipasto tray would not be complete without a few nuts thrown in for good measure. Pistachios with their shell on provides a nice visual and builds anticipation for the guest. Consider toasting almonds, English walnuts, or pecans. Or how about chocolate covered nuts? Or glazed or spiced nuts such as my Glazed English Walnuts.
- Toasted Almonds
- English Walnuts
- Chocolate Covered Almonds
Olives and Pickles
Depending on the size of my tray, I may place olives or pickles in a small bowl on the tray. The same goes for condiments and spreads. Look for tiny dishes at garage sales or thrift stores.
- Green and Black Olives
- Kalamata Olives
- Gherkin Pickles (Sweet or Dill)
- Bread and Butter Pickles
Fresh and Dried Fruits
Consider the season when planning fruits for your tray, whether they’re fresh or dried. Berries in the spring or summer. Apples and Pears in the fall. Oranges and Pomegranates in the winter.
- Apples or Pears
- Blackberries or Raspberries
- Red or Purple Grapes
- Oranges or Pomegranate Seeds
- Dried Apricots
- Fresh or Dried Figs
- Dried Dates
Assorted Breads and Crackers
When it comes to breads and crackers, it almost seems like the sky is the limit. There are so many options available in today’s supermarkets. But don’t forget about homemade breads and crackers, which can be super delicious as well, such as my Sourdough Artisan Crackers or Rustic Sourdough Baguettes. I will usually serve crackers in a separate dish or two.
- Buttery Crackers
- Wheat or Whole Grain Crackers
- Water Crackers
- Nutty Crackers
- Pita Bread
- Toasted Baguettes
Spreads and Condiments
Don’t be afraid to try something new when planning spreads and condiments for your tray. Does that artichoke spread look interesting at the grocery store? Or maybe you have a homemade chutney or preserve you’d like to try.
Wines to Go With Antipasto Trays
When considering wines to start off a meal, you may want to begin with a semi-sweet or dry white wine such as:
- Prosecco, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or a Riesling
Or a lighter red wine would also be nice, such as:
- Chianti, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, or a Merlot
- Hard Cheese Aged Cheddar, Gruyere, Smoked Gouda, Parmigiano Reggiano, Provolone, Swiss
- Soft Cheese Brie, Fresh Mozzarella, Camembert, Goat, Feta
- Dried Meats Cured Salami, Pepperoni, Prosciutto, Cured Ham
- Nuts Almonds, Pistachios, Walnuts, Chocolate Covered Almonds
- Olives and Pickles Green and Black Olives, Kalamata Olives, Gherkin Pickles, Bread and Butter Pickles
- Fruits Apples, Pears, Grapes, Pomegranate Seeds, Dried Apricots, Dried Figs, Dried Dates
- Crackers Assortment of Plain, Wheat, Nutty, Pita
- Spreads and Condiments Fig Jam, Cherry Preserves, Apricot Chutney, Cranberry Chutney, Honey, Dijon Mustard, Dried Tomatoes with Garlic, Artichoke Spread
Wines to Try
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Pinot Grigio
- Pinot Noir
- Antipasto Trays can be as large or as simple as you desire. Fill and arrange with your favorite cheese, dried meats, nuts, olives, fruits, crackers and spreads.
- Serve on a large revolving tray or on a platter with your favorite wine.