Antipasto (plural antipasti) refers to the foods offered before the meal itself begins. they are a colourful, delicious array of gourmet cheese and meats that bring a crowd together.
They are meant to stimulate the appetite and taste buds and are served cold or at room temperature.
More recently we have moved away from the traditional idea of antipasto. Originally it was a few different meats and cheeses before commencing a meal. It has now become a star of the show and is being made substantial enough to be a meal in itself. The appearance of the antipasto announces to the crowd that something special is about to begin. Usually just the sight of a beautifully prepared antipasto is enough to change the entire mood of a gathering, luring each guest to the table for a shared meal amongst friends or family. A great antipasto board has a way of pulling you out from the knots and tangles of your life and coaxes each guest to suspend the cares and worries of their day, and immerse themselves in the gifts of wonderful food set before them.
The presentation of the antipasto - the colours, the artful composition, the care in the presentation and the smells - reminds guests that it is time for pleasure, relaxation and indulgence. There are not too many things in the world that can give us this feeling.
Antipasti plates are an array of gourmet food, relying on the best seasonal produce and an abundance of delicious, easy to eat food. Meats often include Italian style meats like the prosciutto, pancetta, salami, capocollo, pepperoni and salsiccia. Cheese are the main highlight of any antipasto board and a large array of cheese to satisfy the palate needs to be present. Cheeses can include soft cheese like brie, hard cheeses like parmigiana-reggiano and pecorino or buffalo mozzarella, gorgonzola and swiss. Cheeses are complemented with apples, grapes, figs, honey and lots of crackers and breads.
Fresh and marinated vegetables which are known as fillers are marinated olives, raw fruits, marinated eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, stuffed peppers, anchovies, dips and nuts.