Taking Antipasto Beyond the First Course

October 2018

Antipasto is an Italian term, which translates to “before the meal.” Traditionally, antipasto is meant to include a mixture of flavors and textures that stimulate the appetite prior to the main course.

Many cultures have their own form of antipasto: Spanish cuisine includes tapas, French fare has hors d'oeuvres and American menus feature appetizers. While the concept of a premeal meal is not unique, the types of foods in Italian antipasto certainly are. Typically, antipasto plates include marinated vegetables, cured meats, rich cheeses and house-made breads.

In Italy, an antipasto spread varies depending on the region. Northern Italy is known for its dairy products, so antipasto platters tend to include richer, creamier spreads and cheeses. It’s likely for a platter in central Italy to contain more sauces and a variety of olive oils, while southern Italy’s antipasto selections highlight bold-tasting tomatoes and seafood.

Many chefs today are putting their own spin on antipasto, incorporating new and interesting ingredients into the appetizer or using antipasto as a component of other menu items. Instead of artfully displaying meats, cheeses, vegetables and breads on a cutting board or serving platter, some chefs opt to toss the ingredients together with mixed greens to create an antipasto salad. The flavors of antipasto can also be carried through to sandwiches, flatbreads, pizzas and more.

This Turkey Antipasto Panini includes sun-dried tomato mayonnaise, spinach leaves, marinated mushrooms and artichokes, Kalamata olives, roasted peppers and fontina cheese, all layered with premium sliced turkey atop a ciabatta roll. Turkey takes the place of traditional cured meats for a healthier and lighter taste, allowing the rich flavors of Italian-inspired ingredients to shine.

Turkey is a versatile canvas for all kinds of menu items, and it can effortlessly replace higher-calorie, higher-fat meats in traditional dishes from around the globe. Visit our Culinary Center to discover more menu inspiration, and be sure to check out our Resource Center for the latest foodservice trends. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.


Antipasti: The art of beginnings, Cucina Toscana, May 2016.

Christensen, Angela. Antipasti 101: How to serve the best Antipasti Platters, Travel for Food Hub, November 2017.

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