Aperitivo: an Italian institution
If you’ve been to Italy, you’ll be well familiar with a culinary phenomenon I have never encountered in any other country: Aperitivo.
Aperitivo started to become trendy in fashionable Milan and was quickly picked up by image-councious bars and restaurants in Rome and other Italian cities.
Every night, usually from around 6 to 9pm, every self-respecting establishment offering a full bar, will dish up an all you-can-eat buffet of Antipasti, salami, ham, cheeses, pizza, pasta, olives or whatever else they care to offer their customers. The interesting part here, is that the buffet is usually free, provided you get a drink. Sometimes you pay a set fee of 6 to 8 euros for any drink during that time as it is assumed you’re having buffet (that’s how the bars avoid not getting a bunch of people drinking soda while eating the buffet).
It’s worth looking at your options, because not every Aperitivo is great, and as a general guideline I’d say that the more touristy a place looks, the less likely they are to have good food. And sometimes it looks fine, but it’s very salty (with the idea to make people thirsty and buy more drinks of course). One option in Milan I can recommend, however is Momo (Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 2320143 Milano), set right by the canal, therefore the setting here is right, too.
My personal favorite Aperitivo are those where you get to cut your own salami, and have it with some baguette, olives and cheese. Simple but excellent, and not filling you up too much before your actual dinner (and in Italy, of course, it’s all about what you’ll eat for your next meal).
If you can recommend good places anywhere in Italy for Aperitivo, please share, I’d love to know.