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Celebrate the holiday season Italian style, with a traditional Christmas Eve dinner, The Feast of the Seven Fishes, and this epic Holiday Antipasto Platter!
Today I’m sharing about one of my favorite holiday traditions, The Feast of the Seven Fishes. Read below to learn more about this Christmas Eve celebration and check out my mega Holiday Antipasto Platter!
Y’all!!! I can’t even tell you how much I am in the Christmas spirit! After a little delay we finally got all of our holiday decorations up this weekend. And not only that, we are making plans and filling our calendar with some of our favorite holiday traditions and events!
Growing up, my family was all about Christmas traditions, from visiting Santa, to spending an entire Saturday baking and decorating sugar cookies; my Mom made sure every December was filled with joy and happiness.
That’s why when I met my husband and his family, I was
excited ecstatic to learn, that they loved the holidays just as my family does; even having some of the same traditions. However, being welcomed into another family, meant there were new traditions too!
For our Italian family, it is tradition to have a huge Christmas Eve celebration, and have the traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner, The Feast of the Seven Fishes. The Feast of the Seven Fishes is literally a feast with seven fish dishes, and no red meat, or for my Sicilian family, no meat at all, whatsoever!
Some Italians do The Feast of the Seven Fishes as seven different courses with seven different fishes featured at each course, but we always do a buffet, with an assortment of fish entrees and then usually have one or two fish appetizers. Everything from shrimp cocktail, crab dip and a seafood salad for the appetizers; to mussels in arrabiata sauce, shrimp scampi, linguini and clams, Pasta Puttanesca and oven baked lemon pepper tilapia for the main course.
We then fill in with sides and other dishes that are meat free and have no seafood, like a giant Italian salad, crusty bread, baked ziti, cheese boards and Antipasto platters, and of course, an entire table filled with desserts (including Lemon Ricotta Cake, Tiramisu, Cappuccino Pie and cookies)!
Usually I am tasked with bringing an appetizer and/or dessert and so I usually throw together a giant Holiday Antipasto Platter. I love putting together Antipasto platters because they require little work, as you simply arrange store bought items like fruit, veggies, cheese, nuts, etc. on a tray.
Normally I include meat (things like salami, prosciutto, etc.) on my appetizer platters, specifically an Italian Antipasto platter, but since there is no meat allowed at our The Feast of the Seven Fishes, I fill in with other items like a white bean dip, olives, marinated artichokes, Mulino Bianco Breadsticks and other Antipasto ingredients that I can quickly grab while grocery shopping at HEB.
One of the things I love about Antipasto trays is the variety of textures and flavors. I used Mulino Bianco Breadsticks that come in two flavors, Sfilati Tomato and Sfilati Olives; to add crunch to my spread and were great for dipping in my Artichoke and White Bean Dip. And then the Mulino Bianco cookies (Italy’s #1 brand of cookies!), that come in classic flavors like Chocolate Pan Di Stelle, Baiocchi and Girotondi; would be perfect as part of our Christmas Eve dessert table or to add a little sweet element to my Antipasto platter. Since Mulino Bianco uses premium and top-quality ingredients in their authentic products, I knew they would be a perfect addition to this year’s platter and pair well with all my other Antipasto Platter ingredients (see below).
Even after all these Christmases spent with my Italian family, I’m still learning their beloved family traditions and perfecting my Italian cooking skills, striving my best to make all the family recipes
just almost like my husband’s grandmother used to make! But I think this year’s Holiday Antipasto Platter will be the best yet, and will totally please my Italian in-laws!
Check out all my tips and tricks below on how to make an epic Holiday Antipasto Platter!
Antipasto Platter Ingredients:
Artichoke and White Bean Dip or Roasted Garlic Hummus (click for recipes)
Olives (people usually love garlic or blue cheese stuffed olives)
Mulino Bianco Sfilati Olive or Sfilati Tomato Breadsticks
Cheese: Gorgonzola, Herbed goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, provolone, Fontina
Caprese salad skewers (cherry tomatoes, mini fresh mozzarella balls and basil leaves threaded onto long toothpicks and drizzled with olive oil and/or balsamic glaze)
Balsamic vinegar or olive oil (mixed with fresh black pepper and Parmesan cheese) served in small bowls for dipping breadsticks
Dark Chocolate Covered Clementines (click for recipe)
Grapes (red and green)
Dried fruit (cranberries, figs, etc.)
Assorted Mulino Bianco Italian cookies
Chocolate hazelnut spread
Tips for creating the perfect Holiday Antipasto Platter:
Choose the right board – While you can purchase official cheese boards or appetizer platters to use for your Holiday Antipasto Platter, you probably already have something at home you can use. A large cutting board, baking sheet or even a drink tray or serving dish (ie: what you use to serve your Thanksgiving turkey) will all work great for a cheese board or appetizer platter.
Don’t forget the utensils – The great thing about an Antipasto platter is that all the foods are finger foods and can be grabbed without a plate or napkin, if needed. But I still recommend setting out small appetizer plates and napkins, as well as including small tongs, spoons and cheese knifes (or a fancy butter knife will work in a pinch) so that guests can easily get what they want off the platter.
Also, I recommend items that are wet or come in a brine (olives, marinated artichokes, etc.), be placed in small bowls.
Assemble last minute – If I am bring my Antipasto platter to a party (like my aunt’s house), bring all the ingredients wrapped in individual bowls, washed and pre-assembled (like the Caprese salad skewers), but don’t actually assemble the platter until arrival, right before the party starts, as things like cheese, is not good left out for too long.
How do you celebrate Christmas Eve? If you are looking to create your own Holiday Antipasto Platter, be sure to stock up on Mulino Bianco breadsticks and cookies at your local HEB (located on the packaged cookie and cracker aisle). Don’t forget to take advantage of the current HEB digital coupon and save $0.75 off any ONE (1) Mulino Bianco item (coupon available 10/30/17 – 12/31/17). And for more information about Mulino Bianco and additional holiday recipe ideas, click here!