Shop a deli or market for this easy-to-assemble menu

Assemble a selection of meats, cheeses, marinated vegetables, and purchased salads for an Italian appetizer party. Dress up a platter of fresh vegetables with a shallow dish of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar seasoned with salt and pepper. Accompany the whole menu with wine and Italian sodas ― flavored syrups poured into club soda over ice. To end the evening, serve affogato, a simple but sophisticated Italian dessert in which hot espresso is poured over vanilla gelato just before serving, or offer unadorned gelato with cookies or cake. Italian foods are readily available in most supermarkets; you can also seek out Italian markets for an even greater selection. Here’s what to look for.


At the deli counter or in the freezer: Bruschetta, mini-pizzas, and large pizzas (cut into bite-size pieces)

At the deli counter or on the shelf: Marinated or canned olives and anchovies


In the produce department: Fresh fennel, artichokes, red bell peppers, celery, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini; fresh rosemary or other herbs

On the shelf or at the deli counter: Pickled vegetables ( giardiniera), marinated mushrooms, marinated artichoke hearts, caponata, roasted red bell peppers, grilled or roasted vegetables, and white bean salad (or buy canned white beans, drain, and gently mix with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped tomatoes, and chopped fresh herbs)


At the bakery or on the shelf: Crusty loaves, breadsticks, and focaccia


In the refrigerator case: Pesto-mascarpone torta, mozzarella-prosciutto roll, and cheeses such as asiago, bel paese, gorgonzola, taleggio, provolone, and Parmigiano-Reggiano

In the freezer: Meatballs and frozen cooked, shelled shrimp

At the deli counter or in the refrigerator case: Cured meats such as prosciutto, coppa, mortadella, salami, and Italian sausage


On the shelf or in the refrigerator case: Basil, dried tomato, or artichoke pesto; tapenade, marinara sauce, extra-virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar


In the bakery, refrigerator case, or freezer: Tiramisu, polenta cake, cannoli, or crostata

In the freezer: Gelato

On the shelf: Biscotti and other cookies, panettone, panforte (fruitcake-like confection), assorted chocolates, and torrone (nougat candy)