17 June 2013

cheering with a glass of spritz



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).


Spritz
The classic recipe

2 parts Aperol or Select 
3 parts good prosecco, chilled
a splash of soda
1 slice of orange
ice cubes

Place 5-6 ice cubes in a tumbler glass. Pour the liquor first, then add prosecco and soda and stir to combine. Serve immediately with a slice of orange.




Tutto iniziò con un'idea: parlare del cibo italiano in modo diverso. Più autentico, forse? Meno convenzionale? Con qualche fondamento storico? In realtà, ciascuna di noi sentiva semplicemente di avere qualcosa da dire, dal proprio personalissimo eppur complementare punto di vista, sulle tradizioni e sulla cultura che ruotano intorno alla tavola italiana. Italian Table Talk è nato come chiacchierata e scambio tra quattro amiche, Emiko, Jasmine, Giulia ed io, e tra noi e voi; come tavola visrtuale attorno alla quale potersi sedere una volta al mese per scambiare opinioni, aneddoti, ricette ed idee. 

Dopo un anno, sentiamo di aver detto molto, e imparato anche di più. Personalmente, mi sento estremamente arricchita da questa esperienza. Dove andremo da qui in avanti, è tutto da vedere. Quel che sappiamo, però, è che abbiamo tutte apprezzato lo scambio e l'arricchimento personale che ne è derivato, e c'è ancora molto che vorremmo dire, condividere e imparare. Nel frattempo, comunque, ci piacerebbe sentire la vostra voce, i vostri commenti su quello che è stato fatto e detto, su quello che vi è piaciuto leggere o meno, su quello che vorreste leggere prima o poi. In ogni scambio, la risposta di chi legge o ascolta è importantissima per chi sta dall'altra parte, affinché possa continuare ad andare nella giusta direzione. Quanto a me, se dovessi scegliere un tema preferito tra quelli fatti, non avrei dubbi: mi sono divertita moltissimo a mettere insieme quello sul cibo di strada a Venezia, tra ironia e foto scattate sul momento, suggerimenti mangerecci e non. 

Per celebrare quest'anno passato insieme, volevamo dedicare quest'episodio al tema dei festeggiamenti, appunto, condividendo una ricetta e qualche aneddoto che ci sta particolarmente a cuore e che subito ci fa pensare ad un momento di festa: Giulia con il suo dolcissimo latte alla portoghese, Emiko e un bellissimo tiramisu, e Jasmine con un cremoso paté di tonno. Quanto a me, per quanto mi sia sforzata di pensare ad un piatto che immediatamente riconduca a un momento di festa, non ne ho trovato nemmeno uno. Lo so, sembra strano, ma nei momenti di festa a casa mia si andava a prendere la pizza, o un vassoio di pasticcini, o si andava al cinema e a mangiare il gelato. Quello che fin da subito mi era balzato in testa, invece, è lo spritz: se ci penso, da una certa età in poi, non c'è stato compleanno, esame passato, laurea o anniversario che non sia stato festeggiato con un bicchiere di spritz. Perfino adesso che sono a Londra, mi sono comprata la bottiglia di Aperol per quando mi prende la nostalgia di casa. 

Insomma, per una volta, io faccio quella che non cucina nulla e porta da bere. Salute, quindi: a un
anno insieme ad Italian Table Talk, e a mille altri a venire!

Spritz
Ricetta classica

2 parti Aperol
3 parti di buon Prosecco, freddo
un goccio di seltz
1 fettina d'arancia
ghiaccio

Mettete 5-6 cubetti di ghiaccio in un bicchiere basso. Aggiungete l'Aperol, poi il prosecco, ed infine il seltz. Mescolate, finite con l'arancia, e servite.

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14 comments:

  1. I just love that peachy-orange glow of a spritz! The spritz has a special place in my heart actually, as they remind me of when I first met Marco. They are his all-time favourite drink. They also make me think of Venice, which occupies a little (or rather large) spot in my heart too - I love nothing more than sitting in a campo or down some skinny laneway with bright orange drink in hand, a few big, green olives to munch on, now that's the start of a great evening! The fact that they are soooo cheap in Venice too makes it criminal not to have a few more than you normally would elsewhere - in Florence they're at least double (sometimes triple) the price and in Melbourne, sadly, they're nearly 7 times the price! So owners of a bottle of Aperol we are too ;)

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    1. I know, I always have to have a spritz night every time I go back, and being so cheap, I overindulge and I find myself happily tipsy and craving a big plate of bigoli :DDD

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  2. Happy one year Table Talk, it has been very interesting to read so keep it up ladies!
    I will always remember my first Spritz, it was in Venice on the Rialto Square at a small stall where you can also eat small open sandwiches. You can only stand and it more a whole in the wall. I'm sure you will know the place. I ate a delicious bread with tuna and radiccio and enjoyed the Spritz. Mind you it was 11 in the morning and we had just come from the airport after a long flight, the Spritz went straight to my little head! I then spend 45 min on the boat to Burano, blissfully tipsy in the sun :)

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    1. It tends to have that effect: it goes quite straight to one's head but in a good way, and it never seemed to leave me with an hangover, or maybe that's the Venetian gene :D
      Oh yeah, it must be Al Marcà! I love their mini-panini with baccalà, and they also have a killer prosecco col fondo!

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  3. Ok, time to confess. I had my first spritz in a bar in Siena about 2 months ago, followed by a lot of food because you know I barely can stand a sip of alcohol. I agree with you, it was easy to drink, really enjoyable even by a soft drink person as I am, and it made me completely tipsy! Anyway I enjoyed it and I already had a second trial a few days ago... I am really looking forward to sharing one with you in Venice soon!

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    1. 2 months ago? <3 We must do that bacari tour, then!

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  4. Spritz is my all time favourite celebration drink - my parents have a house in Italy and it reminds me of holidays, birthdays, family and happy times! I just wish it wasn't quite so expensive in the UK - it costs more in pounds than it does in euros in our local town!

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    1. where about do they have their house? I know, it is killer expensive here in London, I had one in soho for £7!!! what? So well, I ended up buying Aperol for some home made ones every now and then, much better value!

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  5. Val, I always like your posts but this one is particularly good, the pics are simply awesome: such a beautiful light, such incredibly bright but gentle colours!
    Next time I shoot a drink, I'll keep this in mind as a "best practice".
    Cheers!
    Jas

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    1. oh wow, thank you dear! what can i say, spritz inspires me!

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  6. Congratulations on one year! The Spritz is a wonderful aperitif. We just returned from Italy and saw people drinking them in bars everywhere, particularly in our favorite, Rivoire, in Florence

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    1. Thank you! Hope you had your good dose, too :)

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  7. Si brinda! Alle idee, all'arancione, a Venezia e ai suoi bacari, agli aperitivi estivi al tramonto, alle parole che lasciano segni, a Londra (ci voglio troppo tornare), ai sapori che ci riportano a casa, in un attimo...

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    1. A tutto questo, sì! Chè quando ci si pensa, a tutte queste cose, il grigiume svanisce in un attimo.

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