Our trip to Italy was such a dream that it sneaks its' way onto our table frequently, most recently for this Italian-inspired Fall Flavors Snack Board!
I was planning a snack board to serve for a few friends and this time, I was inspired by the hotel breakfast buffets. Not all hotels in Italy provide breakfast, but the food served at Hotel La Spiaggia in Monterosso al Mare, Liguria, was quite the spread.
Let me set the stage:
Monterosso was one of our favorite places. We stayed in a gorgeous room overlooking the beach and Mediterranean Sea, where the buildings were covered in romantic flowering vines and lemon trees were growing on the streets. We were greeted upon arrival with a glass of local Liguria wine and we spent afternoons lounging on the beaches scattered with orange & green parasols, drinking more of that delicious local Liguria wine.
But that was all after the breakfast buffet.
All of the hotels we stayed at offered pastries, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereals and coffee. La Spiaggia went over the top though.
There were trays of brioche croissants, hard boiled eggs, freshly sliced fruits, baked breakfast pies, marinated mozzarella, marinated tomatoes, mortadella, sliced cheeses, toasts, crackers, and biscotti.
Basically, there was a huge spread. They were obviously used to impressing US tourists like myself, and they exceeded all expectations I had.
When I decided to make a snack board, I couldn't help but take notes from La Spiaggia. Because it's finally October, we're incorporating some seasonal flavors that Italians love, too!
For this Fall Flavors Snack Board, you can make or purchase as much of this pre-made as you want.
Traditional Charcuterie/Salumi Board with Seeded Toast & Crackers
Fig Jam (or other seasonal jam)
You'll need just over 2 1/2 hours to make everything yourself, or less if you purchase a few things ahead of time.
Salumi (aka Charcuterie, Cheese Board, Cheese Tray)
In Italy, we may have ordered a salumi board - at minimum - once a day… but, how could you not?
For this fall flavors board, we used some prosciutto on the pizzette, but we also incorporated sweet soppressata and salty provolone. We also had some rosemary asiago on hand, and I incorporated slices of that to add in some warm lemony-pine flavors for this seasonal board, (but I love rosemary anytime of the year!)
The meats and cheeses were simply folded in half, just like it was served at the Italian breakfast buffets. Add some toasts or crackers on the side to compliment the salumi.
Jam? As a main feature on a snack board? Yes!
You're going to love this recipe. It was perfect smothered on top of toast with a little of the rosemary asiago. It was also used on this menu on the pizzette as the sauce base.
This recipe was so simple, and just takes a half hour to cook down and cool.
Don't worry, this recipe only adds a little sugar to the mix. The natural fig flavor really comes out with just a little sugar and lemon juice.
Fig & Prosciutto Pizzette
A long, long time ago, I saw Ree make this amazing pizzette on The Pioneer Woman. I was at the grocery store perusing around the aisles when I walked by some plump figs and remembered this beautiful flatbread. So I finally made it, with my own twists.
Ree's recipe calls for fig jam (above), mozzarella, prosciutto, and arugula. For this recipe, I decided to make my fig jam from scratch and subbed arugula for a sprinkle of fresh herbs. I also switched out the mozz for a juicy burratta balls. (But of course I kept the prosciutto!) Lastly, I used a pre-made dough ball from the grocery store to save some time.
Baked Apples with Cinnamon Muesli
In Italy, there was fresh fruit served everywhere - in breakfast buffets, in pastries, in desserts, in gelato, and even in the drinks. I vividly remember these gorgeous, sugared galettes filled with baked cinnamon apples at one of the hotels for breakfast, baked to glistening perfection.
For this menu, I used a childhood favorite recipe for inspiration - baked apples! (Of course, I used seasonal Honey Crisp Apples - my personal favorite.) And instead of baking them just with oats, I incorporated a premade muesli mix.
What is muesli you ask? It's basically a fancy term for mixed oats, and many Europeans eat it for breakfast just as we do in the US with oatmeal. Sometimes it includes seeds, nuts, and other grains. This mix was filled with raisins, almonds, walnuts, and seeds. I added a little spice and butter to it for the apple filling.
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Difficult Level: 1
Prep Time in Advance: 45 minutes
Cooking Time the Day of: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours & 45 minutes
For the Salumi:
1/8 lb. Prosciutto, freshly & thinly sliced
1/8 lb. Soppresatta or other Salami, thinly sliced
1/8 lb. Deli Provolone, thinly sliced
1/8 lb. of your other favorite Italian Cheeses (Rosemary Asiago used in this instance)
4-6 pieces of Seeded Sandwich Bread, toasted
For the Fig Jam:
1 lb. of figs (approximately 6-8 figs)
3/4 cup of sugar
1/8 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
Pinch of Salt
For the Baked Apples with Cinnamon Muesli:
3 tablespoons Salted Butter, room temperature
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg, ground
1/3 cup Muesli
2 tablespoons Milk, (Oat Milk is used in this instance)
4 medium or large Baking Apples (Honey crisp, Braeburn, or Granny Smith)
3/4-1 cup Warm Water
For the Fig & Prosciutto Pizzette:
1 lb. Dough Ball (premade)
1-2 teaspoons All Purpose Flour (for your hands)
2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 cup Fig Jam
8-10 ounces Burratta, dolloped & torn
1/2 teaspoon Rosemary, dried & crushed
Pinch of Salt
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1/2 teaspoon Parsley, dried
1/4 teaspoon Basil, dried
4-5 ounces Prosciutto, thinly sliced (can be used from Salumi portion)
Day 1: (The night before - 45 minutes)
To make the jam, rinse & cut the figs. Stems should be cut off and the figs should be cut (leaving the skin on) into six equal pieces each.
Mix the figs and sugar and let macerate for 10 minutes in a sauce pot. Bring the heat up to Medium and pour in the lemon juice, water, and salt. Let everything simmer for 20 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Then let cool 10 minutes. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator overnight.
Day 2: (The day of - 2 hours)
Prep the muesli by mashing the butter, sugar and spices together with a fork or mixer with a paddle attachment. Pour in the muesli mix and milk. Set aside to let the muesli absorb the liquid.
Preheat the oven to 375*. Wash & core the apples using an apple corer or paring knife. Apples should be un-cored with about an inch-wide opening and three-quarters of the apple's length down. Fill the apples with the muesli mix to the top.
Take out a baking dish, (at least as tall as the apples,) and place the apples inside about a 1/2 inch apart. Add in warm water to surround the apples, (which keeps them juicy!) The water should come up no more than halfway up to the apples' height.
Bake the apples for 45 minutes and then let cool for 5 minutes. (Readjust the oven heat to 500* for the pizzette.) Place the apples on another dish to finish cooling outside of the water.
While the apples are baking, drizzle olive oil over a large roasting pan. With a little All Purpose Flour dusted on your hands, carefully stretch the pizza dough with the tops of your fists, pulling gently on opposite sides of the dough ball in a circular rotation.
Once the dough ball is about 10 inches wide, place the dough in the pan and carefully mold and fold the dough to fit inside, (about 10-12 inches.) Brush olive oil over the top of the dough, paying special attention to the crust areas.
Once the apples are done baking and the oven heat is reached, par-bake the pizza dough for 10-15 minutes or until the crust barely starts crisping. Remove from the oven to top. Start by spreading and smearing small dollops of fig jam on top of the pizzette. Then add the thinly sliced figs, dolloped burratta, and spices. Bake for 15 minutes until the crust is crisp and the cheese is bubbling.
While the pizzette is baking, toast a few slices of bread (preferably seeded). Spoon jam into a small bowl and arrange onto the board, followed by the baked apples, then toast, then salumi, leaving room for the pizzette pieces.
After removing from the oven, quickly sprinkle parmesan and herbs on top. Next, quickly drape prosciutto slices over the pizzette. Slice into individual servings. Place onto the snack board and serve.