How to throw a summer date night aperitivo with three simple aperitif and quick small bite recipes including Green Melon Caprese, Lemon & Artichoke Tapenade, and a Heirloom Tomato Tart for a delicious European Happy Hour. This meal is paired to Gloria Ferrer sparkling wines.
The first time an aperitivo was described to me I was dreamily romanticized by its European flair. The main gist of an aperitivo is it’s a time when alcoholic beverage or light bites you eat prior to a meal, also known as aperitifs. Depending on who you talk to and where in Europe they are from the drinks are different and the simplicity of the food changes. No matter where you go though, the main point of this European Happy Hour is to drink well, snack well, and relax well. I thought, what better way to host a unique and easy to put together date night around those themes.
HOW TO THROW A SUMMER APERITIVO DATE NIGHT
I think there is nothing more vulnerable or romantic than sharing a bottle of wine and food that you eat with your hands. Something about the mess and lack of care gives way to an effortlessly evening. Thus came these light bites of sweet Green Melon Caprese Skewers, bright Lemon and Artichoke Tapenade, and a crunchy Heirloom Tomato Tart. Plus, it can’t be aperitivo without wine! For wine I paired Gloria Ferrer Brut NV Rosé and NV Blanc de Blanc to the recipes. Gloria Ferrer has earned over 500 gold medals and 50 90+ scores in the last 5 years. So it’s perfect for elevating any date night! Not to mention Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards is Carneros’ original sparkling wine house, owned and founded by the Ferrer family of Spain. Named for José Ferrer’s wife, Gloria, the winery opened in 1986 in the breezy, now-famous region in southernmost Sonoma County. Gloria Ferrer is not only the first sparkling wine house in Sonoma Carneros, but also the first to bring back clones from France to plant their vineyard. Isn’t it the sweetest to name your winery after you wife? Their romantic story melds perfectly into our aperitif foods for date night!
HEIRLOOM TOMATO TART
You can make all of these or just one or two. If you choose to make all of these this is the order in which I would do it for a faster cook time.
This Heirloom Tomato Tart is crunchy, sweet, and creamy. Both the Gloria Ferrer NV Brut Rosé and NV Blanc to Blanc pair with it due to the sweetness of the tomatoes but the heartiness of the goat cheese. To make it you’ll use thawed frozen filo pastry dough cut into a small rectangle or square shape. You cover the filo in a fresh dill and goat cheese spread and top with slices of your favorite heirloom tomatoes. Give it a sweep of egg wash around the boards and it will bake up in the over to a beautiful chessy & golden brown tart. See full recipe card for details.
GREEN MELON CAPRESE SKEWERS
Since most aperitif foods are all about opening up the stomach for the larger meal a head, I wanted something that could cleanse the palette but still be delicious. The mint in this recipe helps do just that. To assemble take a skewer first add on the mint for brightness, then bocconcini for savor, and lastly green melon for sweetness. Adding on a balsamic vinegar rounds it all out for a delightful finish. Since it pulls more to the sweet side I like it paired best with the Gloria Ferrer NV Brut Rosé. It’s a new sparkling wine for Gloria Ferrer that’s a balance of crisp and sweet bringing out delightful notes to this recipe. I like to make these while the tart is cooking and set them aside until ready to eat. See full recipe card for details.
LEMON & ARTICHOKE TAPENADE
I make this one while the tart is in the oven as well. If you’re looking for that punch of summer flavor this Lemon and Artichoke Tapenade is it. It’s bright, briny, and salty, plus you can you say no to crusty topped bread? Gloria Ferrer Blanc to Blanc pairs phenomenally to it. The bubbles of crispy wine mixed with the lemon from this dish is what summer date nights are all about. To make this Tapenade all you need to do is throw into a food processor artichoke hearts, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse until it’s combined but not as blended as hummus. Serve on toasted baguette slices for crostini delight! See full recipe card for details.
Three small bite aperitif recipes for a summer date night aperitivo including Green Melon Caprese, Lemon & Artichoke Tapenade, and a Heirloom Tomato Tart.
- 1.5 cups Sliced Heirloom Tomatos
- 1 9 x 14 Sheet Frozen Filo Pastry (Thawed)
- 5 ounces Soft Goat Cheese
- 1.5 tablespoons Fresh Dill
- 1 tablespoon Water
- 1 Egg Yolk
- Salt (to taste)
- 6 Small Pieces of Green Melon (Honeydew)
- 3 Bocconcini (Mini Mozzarella Balls)
- 6 Mint Leaves
- 1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 cup Artichoke Hearts
- 1 clove Garlic
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Baguette Sliced into 8-10 pieces
- Salt (to taste)
Start by laying your sliced tomatoes out on a plate of layered paper towels. Sprinkle both sides with salt and let dry out for 20 minutes. While your tomatoes are drying let your soft goat cheese come up to temperature.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and begin to combine your dill and goat cheese together making a spread. Remove your tomatoes from their paper towels and place them on a dry working surface.
Make your egg wash for the pastry by combining the egg yolk and water, whisked together.
Placing your filo on a lined cookie sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick mat, you'll cut off 5 inches from the length of the pastry (discard of use for later) giving it a square shape. Then carefully begin to spread your goat cheese on your filo leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge. Working quickly so your filo does not dry out place your tomatoes over the goat cheese spread. Spread egg wash around the border of your pastry.
Add to the pre-heated oven and cook for 14-16 minutes or until your filo is golden brown and tomatoes well cooked. Let cool before slicing to serve.
Begin by cutting your bocconcini in half.
Assemble the skewers like so. Take a toothpick/skewer add in order the mint, bocconcini, and green melon. Repeat making 6 skewers total.
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar right before serving.
Toast your baguettes slices for 5 minutes in an oven at 350 degrees.
In a food processor or blender, add in the artichoke hearts, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse until you have combined all your ingredients. You want more like a textured hummus than a paste.
Add to a serving bowl and give it a taste. If it needs more salt and pepper stir it in. Serve with toasted baguette slices as a crostini.
Isn’t this a fun date night idea? I can see ending a Friday evening after a long week of work with an evening of aperitivo. Who wouldn’t love sharing delicious aperitif bites, bottles of Gloria Ferrer Brut Rosé and Blanc de Blanc, and good conversation in the theme of European romance.
What fun ways to do you date night in the summer? Have you heard of an aperitivo before? Give me all the details down below!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.