Serving numerous small plates of food, either to begin a meal or to constitute an entire meal, is a much-loved tradition in Mediterranean countries. This convivial custom of sharing savory dishes encourages leisurely dining and lively conversation. Known as mezes in Greece and Turkey, tapas in Spain, hors d'oeuvres in France and antipasti in Italy, these small plates draw on the prized ingredients of the region and are typically accompanied with local wines.

To help you bring this tradition into your own home, we feature a sampling of small plates from around the Mediterranean. Italian favorites include arancini (little balls of rice that are stuffed and fried). Caponata, a Sicilian dish of eggplant, bell peppers and onions, is simmered with tomatoes in a sweet-and-sour sauce. Moroccan-style lamb meatballs are boldly seasoned with cumin, cinnamon and fresh mint. And from Spain, you will savor spicy patatas bravas plus sizzling garlic shrimp with sherry.