There’s really nothing like in America, even though some would call it the equivalent of our “happy hour.” But, still, ours doesn’t come close to the Italian ritual known as aperitivo.
Literally, aperitivo means aperitif or before-dinner drink.
But in Italy today, aperitivo denotes a veritable smörgåsbord like the one in the photo above.
That’s Stavio, a beer and wine bar in Trastevere.
When Paolo hosted a group of American wine writers in Italy last month, we spent two nights in Rome, bookends of our trip.
On the first night, before we headed out to an excellent trattoria for classic Roman cooking, we stopped for aperitivo at Stavio. We had a great meal at dinner (more on that later) but the aperitivo would have been enough!
Generally, aperitivo is served without charge or for a nominal fee per person in the happy hour time slot.
No self-respecting wine bar or beer garden in Italy today wouldn’t offer its early-evening guests a nosh!
Image by Alfonso Cevola.