When you go on holiday, you often buy a little souvenir to help remind you of your trip, but a little enamel “Eiffel Tower” just doesn’t do the trick. The wonderful food and wine you share with others while traveling is what you want to remember. I’ve learned that I can recreate my best dining experiences from my favorite vacations and share it with family and friends. I’m here to show you that you can recreate those moments too! Here are three cocktails and three cutting board meals from three of my favorite countries: Italy, Spain, and France!
The best part is, there is absolutely no cooking involved and everything can be assembled in mere minutes. Just go to your neighborhood market and buy the very best ingredients you can afford. To make the experience totally wonderful for your guests, go the extra mile and play music from the countries you’ve visited to really set the mood.
Whether it was in Sorrento, Positano, or Santa Cesarea Terme, we were treated to a fresh Bellini (Prosecco and peach purée), delectable cured meats, and the best Italian cheeses like Gorgonzola, Fontina, and provolone. My favorite part of visiting these beautiful towns were the cutting boards they used to serve the food on. Some were as old as 50 years and had been in the same family for generations. You eat family style every time you’re in Italy, and sometimes the people start singing operatic songs that always make for a wonderful evening.
At home, we make a Bellini with a twist and call it “Henry’s Sparkling Pear” after my partner. The twist is, we use pear juice instead of peach with the Prosecco, and we add a fresh raspberry that we freeze to act as an ice cube. The pear juice gives the Prosecco a lighter, crisp flavor.
For the cutting board nibbles, we use prosciutto, of course, but we also have to have capocollo and soppressata (all cured pork). Place a wedge or two of cheeses on your board, we like provolone and talegio. Just be sure to pre-cut a few shards to get the party going. We also add hard-boiled eggs quartered and salted because in Italy, eggs are rarely eaten for breakfast, they’re served for dinner so have a few of those on your board as well. No Italian antipasto cutting board meal would be complete without some Italian bread. We like ciabatta, sliced crostini style. Add an opened jar of fig jam, a bunch of red grapes, and a little shot-glass of olives to round it all out. Make a playlist of your favorite Italian music and get ready to relive your holiday Italiano.
I believe that Spain has such a sexy vibe! Is it the sensual nightlife of Madrid, Barcelona, and Ibiza? Maybe it’s the food and wine: tapas, paella, and sangria galore? For us, it’s probably the hunky men with flirty smiles dressed in form-fitting pants. Whatever it was, we had a great time exploring Spain’s exciting cities. The lifestyle there is so different in terms of when they eat, how they eat, and what they eat. Hopping from tavern to tavern, starting around 10 P.M. to see various friends, and eating the best tapas each tavern has to offer is the way to move around Spain’s cities. However for lunch, cutting board meals are often used and that’s more up our alley when it comes to entertaining, or for just having an intimate time for two at home.