Meat and Cheese platter (Antipasto board)

Meat and Cheese platter

An Italian cured Meat and Cheese platter or Antipasto board is a quick no fuss first course or introduction to a meal, especially when you don’t have the time or energy for a heavy first course.

Colorful plates of nibbles including cured meats, cheeses, fresh or marinated vegetables, fruits and nuts make for simple party perfect entertaining.

My mother’s sister (Mummy) Rachel always made some type of savory platter when she entertained large crowds. This was usually over Easter or New Year’s Eve when she celebrated her birthday. In those days there was not a great variety of cured meats available and even the cheese was limited to a few local brands that were barely passable.

Mummy Rachel’s antipasto board always included a delicious seed loaf, French cheese like brie or camembert, preserved figs, egg mayo salad, smoked mussels and a fish smoortjie. My favorite thing on the platter was actually the spicy fish smoortjie made with caramelised onions, fresh tomato and spicy tinned fish. I seldom if ever ate the cakes and desserts on offer and always found a place near the antipasto board.

For a simple cold meat platter include your favorite cheese, sliced cold meats like spicy polony, salami, spiced beef and cooked viennas. This is great for an easy summer supper,  for when friends or family drop in unexpectedly or as part of a New Year’s Eve buffet spread.

Are you wondering why anyone would need to write about how to throw together a meat and cheese board if everything was purchased ready made. In my experience, all cheeses and meats do not necessarily complement each other and the combinations here have been extensively tested. I kid you not 🙂

I made my first Italian meat and cheese platter for an article I did a few years ago for an online magazine. The brief was to do a romantic meal for two with a starter, main course and dessert inspired by one of the countries I’ve travelled to. The Italian antipasto platter was inspired by all the appetisers I saw on my vacations in Italy, but could not partake in because the meat was not halaal.

Fortunately, there are a few places in Dubai that sell pork-free halal Italian cured meats including Waitrose and Eataly. Recently, I purchased a selection from a place in Al Quoz. In Cape Town LA Farms in Wynberg sell salami and their own biltong as well as chorizo. Good Hope Meat Hyper have a wide variety of cooked cold meats suitable for a meat and cheese platter.

Read more: Chili Garlic Prawn Pasta with lemon butter sauce and Macerated Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream with Balsamic vinegar

Meat and Cheese platter with crackers

How to make a meat and cheese platter or antipasto board taste good

  • I use a slate, marble or a hardwood board for my meat and cheese platter. Soft woods should be avoided as they tend to retain the smells of strong cheese or cured meats.
  • Choose 3-4 types of cold cuts or Italian cured meats like salami, prosciutto, pepperoni, soppressata or pastrami. If I have it on hand I also add some biltong, a South African dried meat delicacy. If you are using processed cold meats then spiced beef, pastrami and cooked salami could be used too.
  • Choose 3-4 types of cheeses, including hard cheeses (pecorino or parmesan), semi-soft cheese (gorgonzola or fontina) and soft cheese (burrata or mozzarella).
  • Add condiments and a garnish that goes with the cured meats and cheeses like pesto, black olive or artichoke spread. If you don’t use a spicy salami or pepperoni you can substitute a harissa spread (not paste) instead of one of the others.
  • Add fresh or preserved vegetables like olives, artichokes, stuffed peppers, sun dried tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes. If you use olive or artichoke spread you can use one or two of the other vegetables for variety.
  • Add fresh and dried fruits and nuts like grapes, figs, cherries or berries, dried figs and apricots (i prefer whatever is seasonal).
  • Add fresh honey as a sweet counterpoint to piquant cheese.
  • Add plain crostini, crackers and bread sticks to eat with the cheese, meats and condiments.
  • Arrange all the ingredients on a large wooden board or platter.

Meat and Cheese platter

For other appetizer ideas click on the links below:

Meat and Cheese platter

Italian cured Meat and Cheese Platter (Antipasto board)

Razena Schroeder
An Italian cured Meat and Cheese platter or Antipasto board is a quick first course or meal and includes cured meats, cheese, nuts, vegetables and bread.
4.91 from 22 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Appetiser
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 708 kcal



  • 80 grams bread sticks
  • 200 grams crackers


  • 80 grams pepperoni
  • 80 grams sopressata
  • 80 grams bresaola
  • 80 grams prosciutto


  • 100 grams parmesan
  • 100 grams gorgonzola
  • 100 grams mozzarella balls


  • 50 grams artichoke spread approximately 1/4 cup
  • 60 ml black olive spread approximately 1/4 cup

Fruit - Seasonal fresh or preserved fruits

  • 100 grams grapes a small bunch
  • 100 grams figs, cut into quarters approximately 3 medium sized
  • 100 grams pear, sliced approximately 1/2

Vegetables - Seasonal fresh or preserved vegetables

  • 100 grams cherry tomatoes


  • 50 grams toasted walnuts substitute nuts of your choice


  • Place the condiments in small bowls and arrange all the ingredients on a large wooden or slate serving board or platter.
  • Serve with sparkling grape beverage.


  • 100 grams crostini
  • 100 grams pecorino tartufo
  • 60 ml honey
  • 100 grams cantaloupe or spanspek


Calories: 708kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 26gFat: 48gSaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 1663mgPotassium: 401mgFiber: 4gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 457IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 417mgIron: 4mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.

Keyword 30 minutes or less recipe, easy, halaal recipe
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  • Reply
    pooja Malkani
    November 21, 2019 at 9:02 am

    OMG!!! I could eat it all at once without a pause. The dish is so tempting and delicious. I so wish I could try this out but I am too lazy a cook. Will share it with a friend who can make it for me 😉

  • Reply
    Ewuzie Kingsley
    November 21, 2019 at 7:38 am

    Am in love with this already… Already salivating, This is so inviting.. Oh! how i wish someone can treat me with this..

  • Reply
    November 21, 2019 at 6:37 am

    These are definitely good ideas for Christmas eve. Wow! ♥ I’m excited!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2019 at 2:38 am

    The platter looks amazing. It is so eye catching!!! I wish I could assemble such a nice and pretty platter !!!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2019 at 9:02 am

    This is very timely as we’re having friends visiting on Saturday. I am thinking of preparing a grazing table and this is just perfect. Thank you for sharing these tips. Hope I can find the cheese you mentioned locally.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      November 20, 2019 at 9:07 am

      A grazing table sounds awesome. Use your favorite cheeses if you can’t find the recommended ones.

  • Reply
    November 20, 2019 at 2:50 am

    Mmmm this looks amazing! I love making a meat and cheese board every once in a while.

  • Reply
    November 20, 2019 at 12:57 am

    I really like your platter. It looks so good i with i could ear it right know

  • Reply
    November 19, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    This looks amazing. I always love the meat and cheese platters – but didn’t know it came with such intricate detail. Very neat. Now when I’m done being pregnant I’m totally gonna make me some! SO MUCH FOOD!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      November 19, 2019 at 8:57 pm

      All the best for the pregnancy and delivery. Apparently my mother had a cheese and fruit craving during her pregnancy with me which may explain my love of both 😂

  • Reply
    Melanie williams
    November 19, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    Oh wow what a fab looking board of food for sure. so many lovely choices and ideal for get togethers xx

  • Reply
    Elena Toma
    November 19, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    Colorful, delicious and definitely eye catching ! I was planing to make this for Christmas, I just love how it looks ! The combination between figs, cheese, grapes and walnuts is absolutely amazing and goes great with a nice red wine.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      November 19, 2019 at 7:23 pm

      Haha I actually forgot to add the sparkling alcohol free grape beverage into the photo!

  • Reply
    November 19, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    It’s definitely important to think about the condiments when doing a cheese board. People often forget about them, but a good chutney can make all the difference. I love tomato chutneys and anything with caramelised onion.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      November 19, 2019 at 2:43 pm

      I believe that the little bit of sweetness of chutney or honey somehow enhances the flavor of the savory cheese and I love the combination of sweet and salty.

  • Reply
    Marjie Mare
    November 19, 2019 at 8:49 am

    There is no better way to welcome your girlfriends than serving them with this beautiful tray of deliciousness. I would enjoy this just me and my two kids.

  • Reply
    Dominik Morss
    November 19, 2019 at 3:41 am

    That looks sooooo good 🙂 You totally hit the target for me with this, I could eat through my whole life just with Antipasto plates and the likes! Never seen an in-depth guide like this about actually composing such a “opener meal”. That was definitely very insightful, and I will absolutely try some of the ideas on the next occasion! The honey together with the cheese looks particularly good in my mind right now.

  • Reply
    November 19, 2019 at 1:55 am

    OMG this looks so good! I seriously love cheese platters. Especially when everything looks so good.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2019 at 10:50 pm

    We have SO many meat and cheese options at our local grocery stores, that I’m always overwhelmed. This is a nice guide for putting a good mix together! xo Nipa |

  • Reply
    Erika Ravnsborg
    November 18, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    This is a very eye catching dish. I’d replace the meat with veggies (I’m a vegetarian) but it looks absolutely beautiful

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      November 18, 2019 at 10:03 pm

      There are so many delicious pickled and preserved vegetables that I may do a vegetarian version too 😉

  • Reply
    Dalene Ekirapa
    November 18, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    That board is so colorful, well packed with goodies and so inviting!just reminds me of the meat boards we make during barbecue season. Your presentation is really calling me…now I need a bite, at least! Yummy!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      November 18, 2019 at 4:01 pm

      The hardest thing about putting it together was arranging everything so that it eye catching 😂

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