In Sardinia—an island off Italy’s western coast—tender artichoke hearts often are combined with citrus to create deliciously bittersweet compotes to serve with cheese and cured meats.

While visiting Cagliari—Sardinia's capital—recently, Editorial Director J.M. Hirsch ducked into Disigio Wine Bar for an afternoon snack and a glass of the local Vermentino wine and discovered what quickly became his favorite version—finely chopped artichokes blended with orange marmalade. The bar offered the marmalade as part of a spread of cured meats and the local sharp, dry cheese—pecorino Sardo. The meaty, slightly briny artichokes and brightly sweet orange made the perfect pairing.

Back home, we made our own version by draining and finely chopping a 15-ounce can artichoke hearts, then simmering with 1 cup orange marmalade for 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in 2 teaspoons lemon juice and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper. Cool until thick and jammy. Serve with aged cheeses, breads and roasted meats. Covered and refrigerated, it keeps for three days.

Of course, our travels have uncovered a range of spreads for accompanying cheeses, breads or meats. For more ideas, try one of the recipes below. Each one is simple but yields complex flavors.

Olive and Roasted Red Pepper Relish

We love this on socca, or flatbreads made with chickpea flour and olive oil, but the briny olives and capers coupled with the roasted red pepper would serve as a great side for meat, too.

Tomato Conserva

This rich and savory spread, with its velvety texture, is perfect for smearing on bread or tossing with pasta.

Amlou, Morocco’s Honey-Sweetened Almond Butter

Amlou is made by pureeing almonds, honey and argan oil, a nutty, smoky oil that is Morocco's answer to extra-virgin olive oil. You can easily swap in olive oil if you can't find argan. Spread amlou on bread and you'll forget all about peanut butter.

Honey-Apple Compote

This quick, three-ingredient compote is as delicious on pancakes and yogurt as it is as a side for cheese.

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