Host Your Very Own Aperitivo Party!
When I was in Milan, Italy for the first time, I discovered a fantastic ritual called Aperitivo. Similar to our American “happy hour” in that it’s a way for friends to gather, have a drink, and nibble on some food. That’s where the similarities end. During Aperitivo, drink prices actually go UP, instead of down. Why would prices go up? Because with purchase of your drink, you will get little plates of food – stuzzichini (a course of appetizers).
In our experience, these tend to vary in style and formality. Sometimes you’ll be served small plates directly to the table, and sometimes you are welcome to help yourself to the buffet for an all-you-can-eat assortment. We’ve seen the dishes vary, but they will usually includes nuts, olives, chips, cheese, meats, and assorted crostini. Sometimes you’ll get slices of pizza or little bowls of pasta.
Italians believe that it’s important to prepare the body for a meal by slowly awakening your digestive system. Arguably, Italians find the best way to do that is by drinking an Aperol Spritz before dinner. They believe this drink helps open your palate.
The first time I heard the name Aperol Spritz, I was curious. I’d always associated the word “spritz” with German, but here was a classically Italian drink with spritz in the name. (side note: in Italy, they pronounce this like schvitz.)
So, huge history geek that I am, I did a little research. The word “spritz” originated with the 19th Century practice of adding a spritz (German for “splash”) of water to Italian wines. Rumor has it these bold Italian wines were too strong for their delicate palates and they needed to add some water to help the wine go down. (Kinda reminds me of a Café Americano – espresso with a spritz of water! And now forever more, I’ll be referring to these drinks as Café Spritz!)
I fell in love with the idea of slowing down after work, socializing with friends, and relaxing with some nibbles. If you agree, keep reading to find out how to host your very own Aperitivo gathering!
First things first. You need a drink. To make the classic Aperol Spritz – you’ll follow a very simple 3-2-1 recipe.
3 parts chilled Prosecco
2 parts Aperol (local Ohio friends can easily find Aperol in Giant Eagle stores.)
1 part chilled soda water.
Mix together, pour over ice, and garnish with an orange slice.
Salume – small cubes of meats – ham, bologna, prosciutto, pepperoni
If you want to put in a bit more effort, you can make a simple bruschetta, or top sliced bread with cheese and broil until crispy.
Just add friends!