mercoledì 27 febbraio 2008


Aperitivo, a pre-dinner cocktail hour, is a classic Italian tradition. It usually takes place between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m., and includes snacks in addition, of course, to fine cocktails. The aperitivo is a chance to relax and socialize before the meal begins, and during the week, serves as a way to wind down after the workday.

Food is a big part of aperitivo, mainly because it is very uncommon for Italians to drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Lighter fare is always a must, but many bars in Italy feature elaborate spreads during the aperitivo hour (we say “hour”, but actually the aperitivo spans several hours!). The food is often complimentary with the purchase of drinks.

Some bars feature potato chips and olives as snacks during aperitivo, and others feature entire buffets with a variety of selections, including pasta dishes. While some stay on the lighter side, other bars have such a large amount of food available that it is possible to have an entire meal just from the aperitivo buffet! The food isn’t the only reason people are drawn to bars during aperitivo hour; it’s also an important social event. Many go to “see and be seen,” as well as to enjoy the food and drinks.

For a tasty aperitivo, try some French bread with some dipping sauces – hot pepper dipping sauce is a favorite, or even some sliced hot peppers in oil. Deli meats, fruit and pasta salads are often common foods featured during aperitivo hour. Bruschetta is also a popular and tasty choice. Be sure to check back here and at for The Italian Kitchen. We are working on a special Cocktail Collection featuring special cocktail recipes by Maria Liberati, and tips for making fantastic cocktails that will be available exclusively to those who purchase The Italian Kitchen!

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