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Blame it on the fact it's the social season, but we’ve got antipasti platters and grazing boards on the brain. The perfect way to entertain whether you’re hosting a handful people or a horde of mates, they’re always a hit. Jam-packed with options for all taste buds, they require little to no cooking and are a cinch to serve. If you’re on the hunt for ideas for your next meat and cheese pairing, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to discover the new combinations we’re obsessing over.
If you’ve ever eaten glazed ham at Christmas you’ll know that ham and fruit jam can be best friends. Peach is especially good with salty pork (even more so when it’s got a chilli kick), but you can also opt for a classic apple chutney or pineapple relish. To serve, go for a ploughman’s platter theme. Spread mini toasts with jam, layer over the ham and place on a wooden board with a chunk of sharp cheddar and sliced pickled gherkins.
As cured meats go, wagyu bresaola is pretty special. Made from premium beef cured with sugar and aromatics, it’s delicate enough to pair with mild cheeses like ricotta, but can also hold its own against bolder flavours. Enter: giardiniera. The spicy Italian vegetable pickle is a delicious complement to this rich cold cut. You don’t need much else here – dice the relish and serve on seeded crackers with ribbons of bresaola on top.
Perhaps our favourite vego option, creamy, sweet and spiked with garlic, this is a flavour combo you won’t be able to resist. It’s also super-easy to pull together, making it a perfect pairing for novice cooks. Drain a jar of mixed marinated peppers, then dice and set aside. Thinly slice a baguette on the diagonal to form crostini (or ‘little toasts’ in Italian). Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and bake until crisp. Pile with peppers then place torn burrata (swap for a creamy nut-based cheese for a vegan or dairy-free alternative) on top.
Is there anything more impressive than warm brie oozing with runny honey? Probably not. (If there is, we’re yet to hear about it.) To DIY, dredge a round of brie in flour, then dip in egg and panko. Shallow fry in olive oil until the crumb is crispy then drain on paper towels. (If you’re pressed for time, skip the crumb and simply ‘bake’ the brie in your air fryer instead.) Drizzle with honey, surround with buttery crackers and serve.
If you’re a die-hard fan of antipasti you’ve probably had your fair share of prosciutto-wrapped rockmelon. Level up this classic Italian pairing by switching out the rockmelon for juicy wedges of fig. For big host with the most energy, lightly grill the figs to caramelise their natural sugars, wrap with prosciutto, then use a cocktail skewer to fix a baby bocconcini ball on top – the combo of salty ham, syrupy fig and creamy cheese is a taste triumph.
For a mezze-ish spread, opt for an easy-to-make middle eastern dip and crunchy veggies for dipping. To make the dip, roast two foil-wrapped zucchini in a moderate oven for twenty minutes or until very soft. Once cool, blitz in a food processor along with a clove of garlic, salt, a tablespoon of tahini and the juice of half a lemon. Then set out your mixed veg – we like celery, carrot and cucumber sticks, asparagus and baby witlof leaves.
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