Antipasto is ideal for casual dining as well as formal catering. It’s the perfect choice for serving at functions and end-of-year celebrations, and a natural complement to Italian style.

Having spread far beyond Italy origin, antipasto’s use on contemporary Aussie menus has been adapted beyond entrée.

“We’re increasingly seeing antipasto served as a brunch option in cafes, in pubs and clubs as a sharing plate, and as an upmarket offering for function catering,” says Carolyn Plummer of Riviana Foodservice.

“We know that sharing plates are trending right now in foodservice and that makes antipasto an ideal serving option,” she says.

“This makes antipasto the perfect choice for venues such as pubs and clubs, where people gather together to share a meal over a few drinks, and it also means antipasto is ideal for function catering.”

Antipasto’s Italian origins have further ensured its longevity, especially with Italian-style cuisine enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

“Pizza, pasta and Italian-style cuisine generally command a substantial chunk of the foodservice market today,” says Plummer.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen the café, pub and club markets adopt these choices on the menu in recognition of their comparative ease of preparation and cost-effectiveness.”

Italian cuisine typically has much regional variation, which can be seen even in the difference between Neapolitan and Roma pizza styles, both of which are popular with Aussie diners, and that means there’s plenty of scope for choice in your creation of antipasto platters.

“At the core of your antipasto offering should be the staple ingredients such as olives, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and eggplant,” says Plummer.

“These are typically preserved in oil or vinegar and are often available with additional infused flavours. For example, Riviana Foodservice’s antipasto range includes Grilled Sliced Eggplant infused with garlic and spices.”

To these you can add cured meats like prosciutto and salami, cheeses such as bocconcini, and a selection of breads and dipping sauces.

“Riviana Foodservice’s En Placé Pesto Alla Genovese, which is a classic Italian style pesto, makes an ideal accompaniment to set off your antipasto plate, and a small bowl of extra virgin olive oil is another traditional accompaniment, used on bread in place of butter,” says Plummer.

Antipasto should be served either chilled or at room temperature and offers a great opportunity to serve an appealing selection with colourful, eye-catching presentation — one that will capture the attention of other diners and encourage them to order the same

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