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Antipasto meaning “before the meal”, is the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal. Traditional antipasto includes cured meats, mushrooms, peppers, anchovies, artichoke hearts, olives, various cheeses, pickled meats, and vegetables in oil or vinegar.  It is a combination of bite-size tasty food, accompanied by wine and meant to stimulate the appetite before the main meal.


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The custom of opening dinner with something tempting that is not a plentiful meal dates back to the bountiful tables of the Ancient Roman’s. They would begin their meals with vegetables and salads to prepare for the main courses to come.

After the fall of the Roman Empire and throughout the Middle Ages, the appetizer fell into disuse leaving the meat and game dishes the task of opening the meal. The course reappeared on tables in the 500s and has been passed down ever since.

The “aperitivo” is a huge part of Italian culture. Served between 7-10pm, every night Italian cafes slowly fill. The crowd’s sprawl into one another and across piazzas.The fantastic ritual is a combination of pre-dinner drinking, snacking and another opportunity to meet with friends.

Of course, the traditional use of the aperitivo is to encourage an appetite for the meal ahead, with liquors and foods holding strong flavors to promote digestion. Simple aperitifs may just be a couple of small plates with olives, cured meats, and bruschetta, while other, more abundant aperitivo may be more reminiscent of a full buffet, with bowls, plates, and platters full to the brim with cheeses, pickles, anchovies, vegetables, focaccia, peppers and maybe even a miniature panini topped with pesto and tomatoes.

While the food is essential, no aperitivo would be complete without a delicious drink to sip between bites. The most common drink of the Italian aperitivo is the Spritz – made with either Campari or Aperol, mixed with sparkling wine and soda. The bright orange drink has become the most fashionable drink of the year – while the entire aperitivo ritual is being adopted across Europe and America.

Recipes Appetizers

Mozzarella Panzerotti

  Mozzarella Panzerotti are typical of Southern Italy, from Lazio to Sicily, but the best panzerotti are prepared in Campania and Puglia. They are considered a street food, very tasty with simple and genuine ingredients. You can fill the panzerotti with the...

Cheese Soufflè

  Cheese Soufflè is a very elegant dish of the French culinary tradition that can be both sweet and savory. The cheese soufflé is not as complex as it may seem, in fact, it is made with simple ingredients such as butter, flour, milk and egg yolks, all combined with...

Mozzarella in Carrozza

Mozzarella in Carrozza             Ingredients: 600 gr of White bread in a box 12 slices of buffalo mozzarella Salt 5 Large eggs 100 gr of Flour 00 300 gr of Breadcrumbs   Preparation: To prepare the mozzarella in a carriage, cut the buffalo mozzarella into 1 cm thick...


Bruschetta is an antipasto (starter dish) from Italy consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt. Variations may include toppings of tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, or cheese. Bruschetta is a fresh, simple and delicious...


Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread product similar in style and texture to pizza doughs. It may be topped with herbs or other ingredients. Focaccia is popular in Italy and is usually seasoned with olive oil, salt, sometimes herbs, and may at times be topped...

Rice Arancine

Rice Arancine are stuffed rice balls, which are coated with breadcrumbs, and fried. Arancini are usually filled with ragù (meat and tomato sauce), mozzarella, and peas. There are a number of local variants that differ in fillings and shape. The name derives from their...

Piadina Romagnola

Piadina Romagnola is a thin Italian flatbread, typically prepared in the Romagna region. It is usually made with white flour, lard or olive oil, salt, and water. The dough was traditionally cooked in a terracotta dish, although nowadays flat pans or electric griddles...

Parmesan easy Appetizer

Parmesan easy appetizer: unexpected guest? All you need is a thick Balsamic Vinegar, Parmesan cheese and if you want strawberry or grapes. in the Italian culinary tradition both Parmesan and Vinegar are basic ingredients, with a unique and inimitable flavor and above...