Aperitivi: Expensive Drinks, Free Food

Though the price of a drink may be significantly higher in Italy than in the US (get used to this because if you’re like me your drinking habits are perpetually increased when in any European country) Italian aperitivo is more than a pre-diner drink, but rather a pre-dinner experience.

What do I mean? Well, when ordering your typical aperitivo beverage, it comes accompanied with various snacks for you to munch away on. These snacks can be as simple as little pieces of focaccia with sliced meat, to pieces of pizza or elaborately constructed mini sandwiches. In the United States, this kind of luxury would add an extra sum to your bill; however here in Italia, eating is the way of the world, and of course comes as part of the experience.

Aperol Spritz, Prosecco, and my Aperitivi Snack Buffet

Aperitivi is a common cultural practice amongst Italians, any dinner date is usually prefaced by this custom as it is a nice way to settle into the mood. But not just anything is ordered for an aperitivo. For example it might be strange if you ordered a scotch on the rocks at 5pm as your before dinner drink, unless of course your dinner partner is someone you’d rather not accompany.

Some examples of typical Italian Aperitivi:

  • Aperol or Campari Spritz: Aperol or Campari (bitters), Prosecco (sparkling wine) and soda. Aperol is a bit sweeter than Campari and my pre-dinner beverage of choice
  • Glass of wine, typically Prosecco
  • Crodino: Another type of bitter

While ordering more than one aperitivo can be typical, considering these before dinner dates can last hours, if you don’t eat any of the complimentary snacks this can lead to a before dinner drunk, which can ultimately become funny and/or embarassing depending on your company. I speak from experience.

Well, off to continue my lushy indulgences. It’s ok though, I am simply immersing myself culturally. Existential self searching if you will. HAHA!

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