Italian Foodies

Aperitivo: SNACK AND DRINK RECIPES to celebrate life at home

Speritivo snack drink recipes
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Enrico +Laura!

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If you have ever traveled around Italy, you know that for us, Italians, there is no better way to end a working day (or, well, pump up the beginning of our nights!) than with a good Aperitivo: get a drink and some snack.

At the bar, on the beach, or at home. With friends, family, or just by ourselves. Aperitivo is an integral part of the Italian lifestyle, really a serious thing for us. Perhaps it’s even the most cherished of all Italian traditions around the World. And let me tell you, Aperitivo is something more than the mere act of just eating and drinking something with the people we love (ourselves included!). It has something more related to the Dolce Vita, the art of celebrating life. And here at ItalianFoodStories we firmly believe everyone needs at least a bit of it in our lives.

In fact, if you, my friend, believe that the ritual of Aperitivo involves just fancy places, expensive drinks, or a club dress code, well … be ready to discover that there is no better place than your home to arrange a perfect cheerful moment, Italian Style.

And please don’t be afraid either it requires a lot of prepping works.

Grab our easy to make, long-lasting, and inexpensive snack and iconic drink recipes unmissable in a true, authentic Italian Aperitivo, home edition. You’ll see how easy it is to implement it in your routine.

Enjoy them on the sofa in your yoga pants or dress-up for a private at-home party, but the key point here is: enjoy it!

EVERYONE TALKS ABOUT IT BUT WHAT REALLY IS AN ITALIAN APERITIVO?

Again it’s more than just a having drink. Aperitivo is quintessential of the Italian lifestyle. A recurrent feature of the daily or weekly life in Italy.

Its prime time is between 6.30 pm to 9.00 pm, after work during weekdays. Even though on special occasions such as holidays or family gatherings, it is common for us to indulge in a pre-lunch variation during the weekends, around 12 noon.

Aperitivo is a moment spent in good company (self-lovers are more than welcome!) to chill over a drink (or two) and some snack.

But it’s also that moment that helps us put on hold, even for just 30minutes a week, all the trouble, frustrations, goal settings, and to-do lists to focus on the moment we are living and instead celebrate, enjoy our life, what we have. Including the people around us.

It’s that break in which we stop wondering what we have to do or are missing keeping instead the focus on what we already accomplished. And which better place than the environment we have build-up, that we call home, to do it?!

ITALIAN APERITIVO: THE GUIDELINES

Before we jump in on what to consider when it comes to food and drink during an aperitivo, there is just one, the MAJOR, thing to have super clear in mind when it comes to an authentic Aperitivo.

It is something we are used to having PRE-DINNER. So please remove all the all-you-can-eat style of buffet you might have seen or what is called Happy Hour (please read: a giant amount of food + small bucks = super low quality) and remember that if you want to go authentic, your Aperitivo needs to be served in SMALL BITES and SMALL QUANTITIES.

Literally, Aperitivo comes from the Latin word aperire, which means to open.  It relates to opening up the stomach in preparation for dinner. So, it’s not supposed to be a dinner itself!

I know, I know, we Italians have too many crazy rules about food, but this is our nature, and … during an Aperitivo, we are just going to open up our appetite with some nibbles and wines or something slightly bitter to drink.

As we say, Aperitivo is something that goes behind the act of eating some food, snack, and one (or a series of) drink. It’s that habits to slow down and celebrate the small every day’s joys of life, raise the glasses to switch off (at least a bit) our working-mindset for the day.

Bonus: if you are curious to see how an aperitivo a week could save you so much stress and pump up your joy of living, have a look at this post. It’s my from-a-bit-depressed to a more healthy mindfulness journey in person approved!

Now let’s go into the good stuff.

WONDERING WHAT TO EAT (OR HAVE ALWAYS READY IN THE PANTRY) FOR AN AUTHENTIC APERITIVO – ITALIAN WAY?

Spoiler: let’s open your fantasy and fridge and arrange small bites of something you love paired with your drink of choice.

Longer version: if you want to go traditionally Italians, some snack staples are really unmissable. And you have our favorite Aperitivo at home, snack (and drink) recipes in the download.

If you have ever experienced an Aperitivo in Italy, you may have noticed that throughout the country, in major or small cities, in small village bars or fancy places, in the mountains, or facing the sea, food offers are pretty different. BUT they all have in common these 3 things:

  • A SALTY SNACK, from toasted nuts to potato chips, is mandatory!
  • PRESERVED OLIVES that paired perfectly with the drinks we are used to having
  • BAKED GOODS like pizza, focaccia, bruschetta, crostini or taralli, grissini, tramezzini, etc.

These are the foundation of a good eating choice for a traditional Italian Aperitivo.

Then it’s common to add a selection of some fresh goods more related to the season or the area we are in.  Cold cuts or cheeses, eggs frittatas, polpette, veggies cruditè (that we call Pinzimonio) are amongst the popular. Food combinations in an aperitivo really may vary greatly upon where we are enjoying it or personal preferences.

USE OUR RECIPES TO KICK START YOUR APERITIVO, ITALIAN WAY, AND ARRANGE YOUR FOOD TRAY

Get your hands on the snack collection I’m used to preparing once a month-ish, easily store in the pantry, and have always ready for an impromptu-Aperitivo or hard times. No need to add extra work because we all want not to work harder but smarter, right?

You’ll get tasted-till-perfect recipes of:

  • MY GRANDMOTHER TARALLINI, Apulian baked wheat flour rings, that yes, it will take a bit of work and practice, but that will reward yourself for satisfaction.
  • OLIVE CUNZATE, preserved olives seasoned Sicilia’s way
  • SPICY TOASTED ALMONDS, use the recipe to customize your nuts and flavors of choice

They will get you a foundation to start your Aperitivo Italian way and to implement than with your favorite fresh goods.

Grab our recipes; let me know how it goes, and if you like them! I’m so looking forward to seeing your homemade Italian Aperitivo.

NOW, LET’S TALK ABOUT DRINKS

To go in an authentic Italian style, Aperitivo, being a moment preparatory for what will come later (the dinner!), is typically low in alcohol.

From pre-dinner drinks, wines (bubbles or whites overall) or beers to bitter liqueurs, or a variety of non-alcoholic drinks, we have plenty of space to play around into beverage lists. And of course, if there are kids around non-alcoholic, non-carbonated, or fruit juices lists will pump up.

But what Italians use to have the most are cocktails!

Our love affairs with drink started around the end of the 1700s when the Carpano brothers invented, in Turin-Piedmont- the Vermouth: a fortified wine enriched with many herbs, including absinthe, and bitter spices, that has a really dry and bitter taste.

Shortly it turns out Vermouth’s bitterness and herbal taste were perfect appetite stimulants. Plus it was love at first sight for the King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II; he made the Vermouth the official court drink and got an immediate boom for this product. Giuseppe Verdi, Cavour, and many other Vip’s made it their drink of choice.

But the real turning point for the aperitivo drinks in Italy came in the early 1900s. The introduction of mass production of Selz and soda waters came to the aid of those who do not particularly like bitter flavors, and … Italy meets the mixed cocktails. And, the aperitivo ritual really becomes a huge social phenomenon.

You can still ask for vermouth on the rocks as aperitivo, but carbonated, bitter, and low-alcohol beverages are cooler nowadays.

TODAY WE ARE FOCUSED ON PRE-DRINKS

Because you already have your wines-booze-trusted-pusher around, right?

We’ll have plenty of time to speak about Italian wines or beers. So, for now, we have put together the most iconic Italian pre-dinner drinks to boost your Aperitivo.

Download what we’ve got for you:

  • AMERICANO, the aperitivo cocktail par excellence
  • NEGRONI, An Americano-kind of style with an oh-so-great extra kick
  • SPRITZ, Low in alcohol, it calls for a definite second round!
  • BELLINI, The most CHIC on the menu
  • HUGO, A refreshing, modern long drink

Ok, now that we’ve covered the foundations of a 100% Aperitivo Italian style, it’s time for you to get to work.

GRAB OUR RECIPES


You’ll have in your hands all you need to prepare at home a selection of snack and drink for a truly authentic Italian Aperitivo. Use them as the base layer. Play around adding your favorite food or fresh goods. Keep in mind the gold rule “small bites, small quantity, low in alcohol,” but most important of all, have fun.

Enjoy a “Dolce Vita” kinda style moment with yourself or the people you love. We all deserve it, at least once a week.

Cheers!

Laura

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We’ve been working in this field for more than 15 years now and have been cooking together our families every day since we were born, learned (and still getting better every time) how to make fresh Pasta from sfogline, graduate in the Slow Food University, took sommelier courses and so much on. After years and years of real-life school, WINS and FAILURES we have put everything together here. For Italian Food Lover like us.

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We're
Enrico & Laura

We're Enrico & Laura

A 100% made in Italy duo living a life and a business career devoted to Italian Food. Here to serve you, piping hot, all the insiders’ secrets to master the art of authentic Italian cooking.

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