It all started from an idea: talk about Italian food with a different voice. More authentic? Less conventional? Based on some real research? Perhaps we just felt like we had something to share, each of us in our own unique and complementary way, about Italian food and the whole lot of culture and traditions surrounding an Italian table. Italian Table Talk wanted to be a conversation, a chat, and exchange between four friends, Emiko, Jasmine, Giulia and I, and you, our readers; a virtual table where we could sit and learn something new each month. After one year, we felt we had shared a lot, and personally, I feel extremely enriched. Where we’ll go from here, we don’t know; all we know is that we have deeply enjoyed the process, the exchange, the learning curve; and we feel we have still a lot to learnt, discuss, discover.
To celebrate our first year, we wanted to dedicate this episode to celebrations. Each of us would be sharing a dish, a moment, a memory that is somehow linked to festive occasions: Giulia with a crème caramel called latte alla portoghese; Jasmine with a tuna paté; and Emiko with tiramisu. I, for much that I tried to find a recipe to share, couldn’t think of anything better, or anything more truthful, honest, spontaneous and reflective of what I like than the most famous Venetian drink of the modern era: spritz.
In fact from a point in my life onward, most celebratory moments have been cheered to with a glass (or two) the bitter-sweet delectable aperitivo drink that is spritz. Any success, exam passed, birthday, graduation, anniversary and the like has had a good deal of orange glasses clinking. Even now, I have my stash of ingredients to make it at home whenever the situation calls for it.
If you have never tried spritz, summer is the perfect time to start: it is highly refreshing and extremely (dangerously) easy to drink, but also very convivial and perfect for those long aperitivi spent in some lively piazzas before heading to a late dinner. The history of the drink dates back to WWI. It started as a glass of white wine, watered down by sparkling water to cut on the alcohol content; and it then evolved until it became what it is today: a mix of Aperol (an orange, bitter-sweet liquor), sparkling white wine (prosecco) or dry white wine, and a drop of soda, all served on the rocks. Prices for a glass vary all over Italy, but in Veneto you’ll easily find it for 2 to 3.50 euros. Outside of the Veneto, it’s often treated as a cocktail, so it’s likely to cost more. Spritz is great on its own but it pairs well with salty snacks – olives, crisps, or some small nibbles like cicchetti (Venetian tapas of sorts).