Italian Aperitivo Culture
The Italian aperitivo (meaning pre-dinner drinks) is a social event for many Italians, it is almost a ritual. More evident in the summer months where the long hot summer evenings are enjoyed al fresco with friends and family. The aperitivo normally takes places between 6 -8 pm to awaken the appetite in preparation for dinner. This is the time to socialize and catch up with gossip from friends, this event is never rushed, drinks are never downed in one go.
With an Italian aperitivo normally you would drink light to dry drinks and never cocktails, this would be an extra dry Prosecco, a spritz al aperol (very popular in the North of Italy especially in the Veneto region, consisting of 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol and 1 part soda water topped with an orange slice and some ice) a Campari or Negroni (gin, red vermouth and Campari served with ice). Your drink is always accompanied with some type of food an appetizer consisting of focaccia, olives, salted crisps, peanuts, mini pizzette slices, bruschetta, meatballs, lasagne squares and much more this is included in the price of your drink . In some bars the appetizers can be excessive that you could even practically have your dinner.
The aperitivo is such a big event that in the evenings bars will try entice customers by contending with the price and best appetizers in the city.
In our region Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto you will see a lot of Baccala’ mantecato served with polenta or on some crusty bread during your aperitivo, baccala’ is like a salted cod mixed with milk, garlic and parsley. It is so easy to recreate your own aperitivo at home, buy a couple of bottles or Prosecco and a bottle of Aperol to recreate a spritz and make some homemade focaccia with olives, rosemary coarse salt and a good quality olive oil, you can also go for the Venetian theme of making mini baccala’ with ready make polenta (readily available from your local supermarket) grill the polenta to give it a lovely corn taste and add a tablespoon of baccala mantecato and invite your friends and family and you will make a BELLA FIGURA!!!.