Appetizers are always a hit with any crowd. They’re small, pretty and oh-so-fun to eat! What’s better than having a couple of appetizers before dinner? Making an entire dinner of appetizers!

With this menu we’re taking hors d’oeuvres to a new level by creating a Mediterranean tour of regionally-inspired small bites paired with wines from France, Italy and Spain. This month’s menu is perfectly suited for raising a glass to the final sun-drenched days of summer and savoring the company of your friends and family.

My mom threw this party several times during summers to glowing reviews. Guests loved the way she arranged the food stations by country. She made it even more festive by dressing the tables in the colors of each country’s flag.

Bon appetit! Buon appetito! Buen provecho!




French cheese plate with sliced baguette and grapes (source from a local cheese shop or Whole Foods)

Purchased Paté with crackers, mustards and cornichons (source from a local cheese shop or Whole Foods)


Croustades aux Champignons


Wine Pairing – Red:

Chateau Haut-La Pereyre Bordeaux Rouge ($14) – Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend, full bodied, well-balanced, refreshing, pairs well with beef

Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone Rouge ($15) – 100% Syrah, earthy, rustic notes of plum and raspberry

Wine Pairing – White:

Merlin Cherrier Sancerre ($20) – Dry, light-bodied, but with good depth of flavor; excellent balance of acidity and fruit.

Novellum Chardonnay ($11) – Medium-bodied, no oak aging, elegant, fresh, crisp, full of flavor. Good for outdoor entertaining or with rich seafood or chicken dishes



Various Italian cheeses and salami plate (source from a specialty cheese shop or Whole Foods)

Prosciutto-Wrapped Stuffed Dates


Cannellini Bean Bruschetta


Wine Pairing – Red:

Coltibuono RS Chianti Classico ($16) – Sangiovese blend, fruity, soft, well rounded and balanced, lively

Vitiano by Falesco Rosso ($11) – Sangiovese, merlot and cabernet blend, is dark, deep, and fresh, amazingly subtle, Drink it with any sort of red meat, tomato sauce or roast chicken

Wine Pairing – White:

Zenato Lugana San Benedetto ($16) – 100% single-vineyard Trebbiano di Lugana, no oak aging, well balanced, medium-bodies, fresh, fruity finish, pairs well with hors d’oeuvres and fish

Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco ($14) – Full-bodied, crisp, tangy acidity and a vibrant finish, serve with salumi and cheese, seafood or chicken



Sliced Manchego cheese with sliced quince paste (Source: specialty cheese shops, Whole Foods)

Other Spanish cheese on toast with caramelized onions (find recipe for onions on p. 98 of “A Well-Seasoned Kitchen)

Marcona almonds and flavored olives (Source: Whole Foods, some Safeway stores)

Cabreles Stuffed Shrimp

Wine Pairing – Red:

Mano a Mano Tempranillo ($11) – Full-bodied, well-rounded, earthy, taste of plum and black cherry, good with grilled meats and BBQ

Almira Los Dos Grenache/Syrah ($10) – Aromatic (very fruity nose), full and friendly, pairs well with pork

Wine Pairing – White:

Naia Verdejo ($15) – Dry, medium-light body, crisp, aromatic, medium acidity, serve with fish or pasta

Burgans Albarino ($15) – Dry, medium-bodied, well-rounded, lively, rich, pairs well with cheese, shellfish, fish or chicken

Lee Clayton Roper


I’m Lee Clayton Roper, and I’m passionate about making cooking and entertaining easy, elegant and fun. Here you’ll find scrumptious recipes, helpful tips and seasonal menus that will spark inspiration in your kitchen!
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Access more recipes in Lee's award-winning book, Fresh Tastes!

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