California Style Aperitivo

Pinterest hidden image

This seasonal California Style 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.

California style aperitivo recipe

An aperitivo is a pre-dinner drink and light fare meant to whet your appetite for dinner. Prolific throughout Italy and highly regionalized, 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.

Böen pinot noir surprise

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.

Böen pinot noir in store

While there are many appropriate choices, I found an exceptional pairing 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.

Friends eating a californian aperitivo while playing cribbage.
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

Californian Aperitivo

Michael Kahn
Inspired by traditional Northern Italian aperitivos, this seasonal California aperitivo features local blood oranges, blackberries and creamy cheeses.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 961 kcal


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


  • 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!


Serving: 1gCalories: 961kcalCarbohydrates: 83gProtein: 25gFat: 63gSaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 2025mgPotassium: 586mgFiber: 8gSugar: 42gVitamin A: 270IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 166mgIron: 5mg
Keyword Aperitivo, blood orange, charcuterie, prosciutto
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was – tag @themklibrary on the socials!

Pin this!

California style aperitivo recipe with pinot noir

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. The layout of everything is beautiful! I love blood oranges and would’ve never thought to use them as an appetizer, so thank you for that!

  4. 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.


Leave a Comment

Rate this Recipe

Share to...