California Style Aperitivo

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This seasonal California Aperitivo takes all of the goodness of the traditional Northern Italian Aperitivo and adds a local farm to table twist. This plate is full of fresh, local ingredients and is perfect for small gatherings with LOTS of wine and excellent conversation.

An aperitivo is a pre-dinner drink and light fare meant to whet your appetite for dinner. Prolific throughout Italy and highly regionalized, the the ideal aperitivo time is between 7 and 9 p.m. Partaking in such a tradition is the perfect way to stimulate your appetite for dinner later.

Now, the only way to turn this into an irresistible Californian Aperitivo is simply by including fresh fruits, meats and cheeses from your local farmers market or grocery store.

An aperitivo drink should pair well with snacks, with a focus on cheeses, cured meats, and whatever fruits or vegetables are currently in season. The goal is to enjoy small bites and keep yourself from feeling famished while waiting for your actual dinner. While preparing a California Aperitivo in February, I found blood oranges to be prolific at the farmer’s market. Stopping at the local cheese monger, I grabbed a few soft cheeses made from goats and sheep nearby.

For the sake of satisfying both my personal requirement of local foods, as well as wanting my friends to have a good variety for their own pallets and dietary restrictions, I stopped by the store and picked up a few more things.

While there are many appropriate choices, I found an exceptional paring for the aperitivo to be a Pinot Noir I picked up at a retailer nearby. Smooth and rich, the pinot pairs beautifully with the farm to table cheeses and fruits selected.

All thats left is to arrange your ingredients artfully on a large platter, invited some friends over, and pour a few glasses of wine.

While eating the California Aperitivo, we all played a brief game of cribbage.

Seasonal fruits to add in July & August

  • Apricots
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Pluots
  • Pears
  • Berries (Blueberries, Boysenberries, Mulberries, Raspberries, Strawberries)
  • Figs
  • Melons
  • Figs
  • Grapes
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Californian Aperitivo

Inspired by traditional Northern Italian aperitivos, this seasonal California aperitivo features local blood oranges, blackberries and creamy cheeses.
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Aperitivo, blood orange, charcuterie, prosciutto
Servings: 4 people
Author: Michael Kahn


  • 1 bottle Pinot Noir White wine alternative: Chardonnay
  • 2 whole blood oranges Slice into wedges
  • 5 oz blackberries
  • 1 jar mixed olives
  • 8 slices prosciutto
  • 8 slices coppa
  • 8 slices pancetta
  • 8 slices soppressata
  • 1 block parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 block triple cream brie
  • 1 block blue cheese
  • 6 oz honey
  • 5 oz spicy peanuts
  • 1 box almond crackers


  • Arrange cheeses, cured meats, and fruits on a large platter.
  • Place honey in a separate small dish.
  • Include a cheese knife for each block of cheese, and either a spoon or honey comb to dispense honey.
  • Serve and enjoy with friends and family!

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5 thoughts on “California Style Aperitivo”

  1. 5 stars
    If you don’t know about wines much and want to impress someone with wine choice then order a pinot noir. I can assure you that you will never go wrong with a pinot noir.

  2. Personally, I don’t drink alcohol, but this looks like a fun night out with friends. And socializing with the people you enjoy hanging with is important.

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve never heard of an Aperitivo but it looks like a refreshing appetizer! I love blood oranges and would love to try them fresh from a farmers market.


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