No lunch or dinner can start without an antipasti board in Italy during festivities. Does not matter what the presentation, this "dish" is an important part of the lunch or dinner and in my place a huge occasion for arguments.
For ex, if I was slicing the salsiccia (dried sausage) I have always to try a piece, one after the other, and my mum would get upset and started complaining. Or cut the bread and take a slice or trying if the preserved veggies are good before putting them in the bowl.
Some cooks do not feel the need to try the food they are preparing, I am definitely not one of them. Quality control is essential for a good outcome of the dinner.
Usually, this antipasti board has different kinds of meats and cheeses involved but this, of course, depends on your guests and their taste.
At my place, there was Sardinian dried sausage, Parma ham, Mortadella, a bit of ham for the kids, and salame Milano and on the cheese side Sardinian pecorino cheese of two types ( a mild and a bit more mature one). Close to this, there were some veggies as well like preserved artichokes, peppers, little peppers stuffed with tuna and anchovies paste, and some of my favourite cardoons prepared by my mum.
Everyone can choose whatever fits better with their taste or with the dinner theme.
Meat and cheese antipasti boards are amazing and they open the celebrations together in the best way possible!
Of course, mine is adapted to what is easy to find in Scotland and will result in a bit different from the description above but so good!
Ah forgot to say: be sure to have some warm bread or some crackers to accompany this.