There’s more to food than the main course.

In the Mediterranean food culture this is especially true. We’ve noticed there’s a little confusion out there about terms like antipasto and aperitivo. In this post we’ll clear the terms out for you, introduce you to the apericena, reveal a Nordic family secret recipe and guide you to excellent food and drink pairings. Enjoy your reading!


Antipasto is the first course of a formal Italian meal. It is usually served when one has guests or over weekend meals; a normal weekday meal wouldn’t include it. The whole point of antipasto is not only to serve guests something to appease the sense of hunger while waiting for the main course, but more importantly to open their taste buds for the coming courses. For this reason appetizers are never complicated in the traditional Italian cuisine. It’s all about simple ingredients one has ready in their pantry or refrigerator and that can be quickly transferred onto a dish and served to the guests. Most common appetizers are various cold cuts, vegetables in oil, seasonal fruits or vegetables (such as melons, tomatoes or grapes), all eaten along with crusty bread slices or grissini. 

Antipasto Aperitivo Apericena 101 | Cocktails Adagio on The Adagio Blog

Don’t be intimidated by appetizers; you don’t need to have an endless variety of appetizers to succeed with this course, neither the portions have to be huge. Remember: the point is to offer your guests something to nibble, not fill their stomachs.


Aperitivo refers to drink but can include small snacks too. 


Before dinner time, 5 pm or so apericena with aperitifs and a more abundant selection of appetizers, snacks and cold dishes. Apericena is more urban culture, that started in the late 1990’s in north west Italy, in cities like Milan and Turin.

Antipasto Aperitivo Apericena 101 | Cocktails Adagio on The Adagio Blog


As a side note, let’s mention the platter. This usually consists of a large dish with different varieties of the same food e.g. cheese platter or fruit platter

Pairing antipasti & apericena with drinks

Probably The most common aperitivos are the spritz; a drink consisting of a bitter (like Campari or Aperol), Prosecco and splash of soda water. Another common choice is vermouth & tonic water. Also classic cocktails, like Negroni, Gin Tonic and Dry Martini pair well with a spread of appetizers. In more down to earth settings, like a meal with the family, wine is often the drink of choice.

Lingonberry Aperitivo paired with Rowan Jam and hard cheeses | Cocktails Adagio by The Adagio Blog

Apericena is also a wonderful opportunity to experiment with local and seasonal drink & food recipes. You can try out the Lingonberry Aperitivo recipe for a nice drink, or try pairing the rowanberry jam with hard cheeses. At the end of this post we’ll let you in a secret family recipe for a Finnish forest mushroom salad, which pairs deliciously with fresh bread, cold cuts or gravlax. 
Nordic Wild Mushroom Creamy Salad on The Adagio Blog

Wild Mushroom Creamy Salad

Prep Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Nordic
Keyword: wild mushrooms
Author: Klaus & Thais


  • 200 gr wild mushrooms
  • 1 onion about 100 gr
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 200 gr sour cream
  • 50 ml heavy cream
  • ¼ apple
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Chives optional


  • Chop finely the wild mushrooms and the onion.
  • Heat a pan, add the oil, the mushrooms, half of the onion, the entire garlic clove and fry in medium low heat until the mushroom will be thoroughly cooked. Discard the garlic clove. Set aside and cool down.
  • Add the sour cream and the heavy cream to a bowl and whip until soft peaks will appear.
  • Chop finely the apple, add it to the bowl together with the sautéed mushrooms and rest of the onion.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. Decorate with chives.
  • Serve on a warm, crunchy bread slice.
Did you enjoy this recipe? Pin it for later! Tried this recipe? Mention @adagioblog or tag #adagiorecipes!

Want some more inspiration? Here are the latest posts from Cocktails Adagio and Nordic Foraging categories!

Klaus & Thais

We share same interests and principles, go in the same direction in life. We like to discover new things and learn from others and each other, but we do it adagio.

October 24, 2020



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