Great Dinnerplan brunch idea: bruschetta bar

Bruschetta represents perfectly the essence of the Italian cuisine: simplicity and quality of the ingredients. The bruschetta was invented in the south of Italy by farmers searching for a perfect treat that was easy to make and versatile enough to satisfy. The Neapolitan farmers would take the old loafs of bread, toast them to improve consistency and add olive oil, garlic and salt to the hot pieces of bread. They would combine it with freshly picked tomatoes. As time passed and the Neapolitan cuisine evolved, a big variety of ingredients were added, including charcuterie, olives, cheeses and veggies. The dish is so versatile that each cuisine can add its own ingredients and adapt to all tastes. This may be one of the reasons why bruschetta remains extremely popular in Italy and has acquired so many fans around the world.

The basics

You need to use delicious bread that can be toasted. A fresh, simple, artisan loaf of bread will be perfect. The secret of delicious bruschetta is to have a perfect crunchy crust on both sides. For this, you can use the oven, the grill, or a hot pan. Toast it until you achieve a crunchy crust and drizzle it with olive oil. While still warm, you can rub garlic on the sides and add a pinch of salt.

The options

To make a great bruschetta bar, serve your favourite ingredients. Start by choosing different types of cheese. By rule, offer a maximum of three different hard and three different soft cheeses. Read our article on our favourite cheeses for a cheese platter to learn more. For example, you can have two fresh cheeses like Mozzarella di Buffalo, Burrata, Scamorza or soft goat cheese and two hard or old cheeses like Gouda, Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Gorgonzola, Comte, Emmental, Gruyere, Brie or Camembert. Add ingredients that would pair well with those, like sun dried tomatoes, olives, dried apricots and prunes, pecans and walnuts. Cold cuts such as Prosciutto, Salami and Pancetta, or other charcuterie make it a more complex meal and perfect for a brunch. Include some jams and chutneys of your preference to also include a sweet flavour. Tapenade, caramelised onions, pickled eggplant and pickles can offer a surprising element to the palate. Bring freshness with grilled fruit. Apples and peaches are a great option, but also fresh figs, pears and grapes. Finish by adding some balsamic reduction on one corner and some honey on another corner and no guest will leave unsatisfied.

If you are serving wine, offer white and red options. Cava, Champagne, or Prosecco will do well, or add a celebratory vibe by making cocktails like Mimosas or Bellinis. Welcome to the Italian good life!

How to prepare?

Prepare the jams and chutneys in advance. The same goes for the pickled eggplant, so it develops its flavour over time. Take the cheeses out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving them to allow them to get to room temperature. Cut chunks of the soft cheeses with a metal string to keep clean cuts. The hard cheeses can be cut in slices. Slice the charcuterie and the fruits. Allow sufficient time before your first guests arrive to cut your loaf of bread, to grill the pieces and to make the bruschetta.  At the same time grill the fruit. Once you have all the ingredients ready comes the best part: how to present all your ingredients together so that you find your guests in awe. Choose a nice platter for the bruschetta bar. Get a large wooden panel, cover your kitchen counter or cover your dinner table with foil paper. Place bruschetta pieces all around and mix the rest of the ingredients. Take small plates and serve the wet ingredients like the olives, pickled eggplant, jams and sauces. Play with different heights to create an interesting, more appealing presentation. Decorate the empty spaces with different elements, such as banana leaves, flowers, tree leaves, rocket salad or cherry tomatoes. Place small plates, napkins and toothpicks to hold the ingredients, glasses and a wine-cooler if you end up serving a sparkling wine or white whine. And that’s that: simple, delicious and healthy! See you at the next Dinnerplan!