We started watching Rick Steve’s Monday Night Travel a few months ago. Of course, Rick pairs his food and drink with the country he is traveling to for each show. Recently we switched to watching the show on Tuesday after it is recorded so we can eat dinner during it. As a result, we are creating each cheese and meat board based on where we are traveling to as well. In short, I am posting some of the platters we have done, which countries they are from and some of the recipes we have made. Even if you aren’t watching Rick Steves Monday Night Travel, these make a great date night meal. Then add some music and wine, and transport yourself to Europe.
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Italy and France Cheese and Meat Board
Our first meat and cheese board paired with The Making of Rick Steves Europe which aired February 1. However, this cheese and meat board is minus the meat. It contains seedless grapes, pepperocini, smoked gouda, cashews, port wine cheese, toasted baguette, bruscetta, and tapenade. For the recipe for tapenade see How to Make French Food at Home.
- 5 chopped plum tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped basil
- finely chopped clove of garlic
- dash cayenne pepper to taste
- tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt to taste
Mix together and serve on toasted baguette slices.
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Valentine in Italy, Greece, and France, Cheese and Meat Board
For this Romantic Europe episode recorded on February 8, we created this romantic cheese and meat board. However, instead of traditional meat we went French with fois gras which is a goose liver pate and escargot stuffed mushroom caps. Then we had stuffed grape leaves from Greece which ironically I picked up from my local Italian market. Finally from Italy we served caponata and then amaretti cookies and limoncello for dessert.
- canned escargot
- 12-16 mushroom caps, cleaned and stems removed
- stick of salted butter
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 2 tablespoons minced green onions
Begin by melting butter in the microwave. Meanwhile place mushroom caps in a baking dish. Then fill each cap with an escargot. When butter is melted, mix in green onions and garlic. Once the butter and seasonings are mixed drizzle it generously over mushrooms and escargot. Bake uncovered approximately 15 minutes at 350F until mushrooms look cooked. Then serve with toasted baguette.
Eclectic Cheese and Meat Board
For Favorite Food and Best Meals in Europe which aired February 15, we chose to focus more on the middle eastern foods. This cheese and meat board doesn’t really contain meat or cheese! We bought stuffed grape leaves and olives at the local market. Then we made hummus and babaganoush to serve with toasted pitas bread. To complete the meal we stuffed some pitted dates with cream cheese and an almond sliver, and then drizzled them with honey. However, we added in a bit of France with a bit of fois gras and tapenade.
Italy Cheese and Meat Board
When we traveled to Insider’s Rome on February 22, we layered sliced plum tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil which we drizzled with balsamic vinegar to make caprese. Then we added some green grapes, sliced spicy Italian sausage, and port wine cheese. In addition we topped some toasted baguette slices with caponata and mushroom bruschetta. For the mushroom brushetta, slice mushrooms and cook them up in some olive oil with oregano, salt, and garlic. Then toss in a little balsamic vinegarette before serving on toasted baguette slices.
Austrian Music Festival Platter
As we experienced Europe’s Top Musical Moments March 1, we chose the Austrian theme for our cheese and meat board. We sliced some bratwurst and cooked it in some sauerkraut. We bought some herring in wine sauce at our local market which we served on multi grain crackers. Then we made some potato pancakes topped with applesauce and sour cream. Then to complete the meal we made a modern version of apple strudel.
- 1 package frozen puff pastry shells
- 1 1/2 cups chopped peeled apples
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Begin by cooking puff pastry shells according to package directions. Let cool.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Once butter is melted, add filling ingredients and stir to combine.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes stirring constantly. You can add a little water if the apple mixture is too dry.
- When the pastries have cooled, remove the “hat”. Fill with slightly cooled apple filling. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Meat and Cheese Platter to go with Italian Wine
With Great Italian Wine Experiences on March 8, we did a typical antipasto which means before the meal in Italian. On the left we have an artichoke spread and a Chianti cheese spread with toasted baguette. On the right we have fresh vegetables with an olive oil Italian seasoning mixture, tomato Mozzarella salad, and some Italian meats. We used Cappicola, Mortadella, and Genoa Salami for our meats, but feel free to use whatever Italian meats you like.
Also we used broccoli, cauliflower, sliced peppers, green onions, and celery for our veggies, but you can really use anything. If you are using celery make sure to use the leafy tops as they catch a lot of the oil and seasoning mixture. To make your own seasoning mix stir together dried oregano, basil, garlic powder, and salt with some olive oil. You can use this oil mixture with halved cherry tomatoes and chunks of mozzarella cheese to make the tomato mozzarella salad.
Taste of Ireland
For St. Patrick’s Ireland March 15, we served up Bangers and mash, salmon tartlets, mackerel pate and Irish soda bread.
To make the Bangers and Mash we boiled some Irish sausages to get rid of any extra fats. Then we sliced and browned them in a pan. We used small purple and gold potatoes for the mash. After boiling we mixed them with milk and butter plus some salt, chives, and dill.
Rick had a traditional Greek Easter meal to Celebrate European Easter March 29. Ironically, I had just posted on Easter Dinner Traditions in Greece so we decided to focus on Spanish tapas instead. We feasted on rice crackers with sardines in tomato sauce, garlic shrimp, garlic mushrooms, Spanish cheese, chorizo, red seedless grapes, Spanish olives, and plantain chips. Pair this with some Tempranillo.
For the garlic shrimp, peel and de-vein the amount of shrimp you want to use. Remember they shrink during cooking. Cook in a small amount of olive oil over medium heat until pink, about 2 minutes. Add some chopped garlic after removing from heat and constantly stir. Make sure the pan isn’t too hot or the garlic will burn causing it to taste bitter. For an easier way, use garlic infused oil when cooking. Complete the dish by adding a bit of salt and chopped fresh parley. The garlic mushrooms are cooked the same way, but the mushrooms just have a slightly longer cooking time.
We chose 3 countries for Food Tours across Europe April 5. From Spain we have 3 Spanish cheeses, red seedless grapes, and Spanish olives. From Greece we have stuffed grape leaves, Kalamata olives, Kalamata hummus, and Tzatziki sauce. The Tzatziki sauce was more of a salad as it had slices of cucumber in it instead of just being a creamy sauce. We love cheese so we also added a Danish yellow cheese to our platter and served everything with everything bagel seasoning crackers and vegetable tortilla chips. I have to admit that I got lazy this week and didn’t make any of this food. We shopped at Trader Joe’s for the chips, crackers, Tzatziki sauce, hummus, and Spanish cheeses.
We has so much fun creating these European platters that we have expanded to create world appetizer platters. Make sure to check that out as well.
Donna Emperador is a travel and food blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and cocktails. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time exploring the road to find unique places to share with readers. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.