Thursday, August 28, 2014

L'Aperitivo, the Happy Hour (with recipe!)

“Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour.” Walt Whitman

One of the things you learn when you move to Italy is that in order to get a (mini) cup of coffee, you don't go to a coffee house.  You have your coffee at "The Bar", a place that before living here, my brain only associated with alcohol.  My kids also buy ice-cream and juices at the school's bar.  

Now, the bar after a certain hour does serve alcoholic drinks and then it all makes sense.  L'aperitivo is a break on your busy day, after work, when you stop at "il Bar" for a drink, call it a glass of wine, a beer or the famous Spritz, which has become my personal favorite.  The bars normally provide a few appetizers with your drink, ranging from salted peanuts, pieces of pizza to potato chips.  A nicer bar will provide mini sandwiches, olives and cheeses.  For me, if I had a nice lunch, the apetitivo doubles as a light dinner.  But in reality it just prevents you from starving while you wait for a dinner that does not start until eight o'clock at night, at the earliest.

If you have not heard of this Italian favorite, the Spritz is a mixed drink that is light and summery.  It is a mix of Aperol (an Italian bitter), Prosecco (Italian bubbly) and soda water.  It's not too sweet, it doesn't have added sugars, so let's pretend is low calorie, ok?

Of course enjoying an Aperitivo is part of the Italian's DNA.  Think "La Dolce Vita".  The Aperitivo time is perfect to meet  with your significant other after a long day at the office, to catch up with friends after the summer break or just to enjoy the sights of this beautiful country.  I love  going downtown #Rome for an Aperitivo.  And remember, if you show up at a restaurant at 6:00 pm, you will be way too early for dinner, but the time will be just right for enjoying a Spritz.

On a last note, I already checked and Aperol is available in the U.S.  ;)


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