Antipasto, means "before the meal" and is the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal. Traditional antipasto includes cured meats, olives, roasted garlic, pepperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, artichoke hearts, various cheeses (such as provolone or mozzarella) and peperone (marinated small green bell peppers, not to be confused with peperoncini). The antipasto is usually topped off with olive oil.
Many compare antipasto to hors d'oeuvre, but antipasto is served at the table and signifies the official beginning of the Italian meal. It may be referred to as a starter, or an entrée outside the United States and English Canada.
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