Italian Aperitivo Way of Life

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Italian Aperitivo

What better to end your working day than with an aperitif? Good way of socializing, chatting, catching up with the latest gossip, and relaxing!

Yes but ... what is aperitivo?

The term originates from the Latin word “aperitivum” indicating “opener”.

The Landmark of the aperitif goes back to 1796, when Antonio Carpano created in Turin the recipe of vermouth.

Later introduced in France in 1846, by a French chemist Joseph Dubonnet. Then consequently became widespread during the 19th century.

Before lunch or dinner, an aperitif is a light alcoholic beverage such as a sparkling white wine or a some type of bitter drink to get the digestive juices flowing.

In Italy, aperitifs usually arrive with a relishing nibble sometimes called salatini. These small bites might be crisps, peanuts, olives or an array of  savories such as taralli, pane (bread) with ciauscolo, salami, prosciutto and other temptations. It usually takes place from about 4-7 p.m., especially in northern Italy and the larger cities, café bars offer an extensive range to choose from. Delicious with a glass of prosecco.

Now let’s have a look at some of the munchies I previously mentioned.

The italian aperitivo

Pane with Ciauscolo

This is a typical Italian (typical of the Marche region) soft spreadable Italian smoked and dry-cured sausage, made from pork meat and fat cut from the shoulder and belly. It is usually spiced with black pepper, and garlic, finally minced then mixed with a variety of aromatic herbs. A 12-24 hrs drying out period is required. It gained its Protected Geographical Indication status in 2009.

Apparently the word Ciauscolo relates to the dialect word ciausculu. Other possibile origin, from Mediaeval Latin word cibusculum meaning small food.

Taralli

Bakery product, typical Pugliese regional dish. Usually made with 4% extra virgin olive oil, and 15% olive oil. Small, smooth, yet crunchy, and tasty available in a variety of flavors. Black pepper, fennel seeds exhilarating. The more the heat grows, the more you want to reach for the next one.

Originates from the Greek word “Datras” a kind of bread. Great Greek influential cuisine can still be found today in Puglia and Lecce. At the end of the 700s, the working class and poor were suffering from starvation. One remedy was the tarillo. Nothing created from nothing.

Bakers would never dream of throwing away waste, such as scraps of dough, from the bread they prepared to make. A solution to a problem. Today they are present in almost all Italian homes, economical, tasty and snacky.

Salami

The word originates from the word sale (salt) with a termination of (ame). It’s a type of cured sausage consisting of fermented and air-dried meats, typically beef or pork.

The concept of fermentation, smoking or drying of foods has been popular for hundreds of years. Evident in different salamis found globally. Used and seen in the Mediterranean, and southern Europe, where meat products were dried out in the splendid sun. There is a variety to choose from, Milano, Soppressata, Herbed and Peppered, not to mention the locally produced ones, too.

Prosecco

Well, what definition could I give? But a refreshing sparkling white wine,usually dry, whose main grape varietal “Glera” may have originated in the same village of Prosecco, close to Trieste. Now the most well known brands of Prosecco come from the hills outside of Treviso in the Veneto and the Friuli Venezia Giulia regions.

Already produced as far back as the Roman Times, this drink has always been appreciated. Today it has been improved with the introduction of new secondary fermentation technologies. Furthermore, together with the Controlled Designation of Origin status granted in 2009, the quality of the most famous Italian sparkling wine in the world is guaranteed.

Prosciutto

A must in aperitifs. Its history dates back to the Roman period. Parma was located at the heart of Cisalpine Gaul, a province of Roman Republic. Local inhabitants raised large herds of pigs and were particularly skilled in curing ham.

In fact the procedure consists of rubbing and massaging the hind leg of pork with an amount of salt, in proportion to the weight of the meat. Aromatized if desired. 
After a few months the salt is rinsed from the legs, then hung out to dry. The curing process might vary and last up to two years.

Here the word prosciutto derives from the Latin word pro meaning before, and exsuctus meaning the sucking out of moisture. I really adore my fig and prosciutto wraps, at my favorite café when I’m having my aperitivo, or even when wrapped around breadsticks, delectable.

What a way to enjoy and aperitif, and have a quick nibble, Salute! Cheers!

By Adriana Tenan

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