Italy Wine Country - The Art of Aperitivo

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aperitivopeeps.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Italians have a habit I sorely wish we Americans would adopt.  It's called Aperitivo, and it absolutely rocks.  Here's how it works:  every evening, bars in Italian cities - especially the big cities, such as Rome and Milan - put out an array of snacks that patrons can tuck into for free so long as they purchase a drink.  The drink is called aperitivo (literally, pre-dinner drink), but the word is often applied to the whole experience of drinking, eating and socializing.  Which is why when an Italian says to you "Facciamoci un aperitivo" ("Let's have an aperitivo"), what he really means is, "let's go get our drink/eat/chat on, presto!"
Anto told me that popular bars offering aperitivo are frequented by big city singles who view aperitivo as way of combing an evening meal and socializing into a single outing.  And indeed, the aperitivo we attended in Rome was peopled by stylish singles mingling over drinks and a generous selection of snacks that included salads, pastas, curries, olives and bread.  As you can imagine, the evening left me lamenting that we lack such affordable and tasty social experiences in the US!  

aperitivorome.jpgPictured: guests and the offerings at the Roman aperitivo

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