The easiest how-to antipasto guide you’ll ever find…
From prosciutto to ham, gouda to brie, quince paste, crackers and everything in between; whether you call it antipasto or charcuterie, creating the most delicious platter is now made easy with these six steps.
Serving it up just in time for World Salami Day (07 September), we’ve partnered with Brooklyn-based author, creative director, food stylist, photographer and self-proclaimed cheese lover, Marissa Mullen, who is otherwise titled as the creator and queen of the Salami River.
Famed for founding Instagram pages That Cheese Plate and Cheese By Numbers; Marissa Mullen, the author behind That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life, has kindly shared her step-by-step styling guide expertise with us on how to create the most delicious and photogenic antipasto platter that’s perfect for Australia’s upcoming spring and summer seasons.
Step 1 – Cheese:
Start your antipasto platter or charcuterie board with a variety of cheeses, which will form the foundations of your platter. For this Marissa recommends to use both hard and soft cheeses and to always ensure that there is a mixture of cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk available. From here scatter around some small empty bowls for preparation of step five. Tip: To make things easier for the final design, always pre-cut your hard cheese and leave your soft cheese whole.
Step 2 – Meat:
Once you have placed your cheese on the board, it’s time to make your Salami River. Checking in with your local delicatessen to see what produce is available, Marissa also suggests creating a river of prosciutto, chicken sausage, bresaola, or, for a vegetarian-friendly board, why not create a cucumber river instead? Tip: pre-cut and fold any of your meats before designing your river on the board.
Step 3 – Produce:
Now, to add in your produce, or what Marissa likes to call ‘ponds’, you’ll be creating small piles of fruit or vegetables throughout your platter. Not only does this add a splash of colour to your board, but fruit also compliments an array of savoury cheeses. Throughout the warmer seasons, Marissa recommends a variety of fruits like strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, watermelon, figs, oranges, passionfruit and pomegranate too.
Step 4 – Crunch:
One of the most integral parts of any antipasto platter or charcuterie board is the crunch element. Much like your cheeses, providing an array of crackers and mixed nuts not only makes your plate look more full, but it also allows you and your guests to explore more pairing options. For this look to a range of nuts and crackers that are both soft and hard to fill in the rest of the board. Tip: to prevent you from constantly having to replenish the crunch on your board, always serve your platter with a side cracker bowl.
Step 5 – Dip:
Going back to your empty bowls, now you will want to fill them with some of your favourite dips whether that be sweet and/or savoury. Having at least two options available for your guests, Marissa loves to use honey, fig or berry jam, grainy mustard and even a quince paste. Tip: by adding in your bowls at the beginning of the platter process will ensure that you won’t have to later readjust your meat, produce and crunch to fit in your dips.
Step 6 – Garnish:
For the finishing touches of your antipasto platter or charcuterie board, you will want to make it as photogenic as possible. To do this, look to your homegrown produce like sprigs of rosemary, thyme, sage or edible flowers. Adding in a pop of colour, your garnishes will also act as a filler to your board. If you’re not using honey as a dip already, you can also add in some honeycomb pieces on top of some cheese too. Tip: Ensure that you include serving utensils on your board like cheese knives, reusable toothpicks or forks, tongs and small spoons.
Following her passion for cheese plates and the internationally recognised Instagram page Cheese By Numbers, Marissa Mullen set out to create a book that provides antipasto lovers a step-by-step guide on building the ultimate platter for any occasion. Over 300 pages, Marissa Mullen’s That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life will not only provide readers with a simple how-to for creating 50 beautiful and delicious cheese boards, but it also celebrates the ways in which cheese brings people together, and how crafting a cheese plate can be a calming and creative activity.
Looking for a new recipe to add to your antipasto board? Why not try this Pumpkin and Caraway Bread with a Creamy Avocado Dip? Or, if you’re in search of the best Australian made cheeses, cold meats and everything in between, support locally with these 14 New South Wales gourmet food artisans that you should know about!