martedì 18 settembre 2007
One of the great things about Milan is the aperitivo. From around 6pm to 9pm every evening throughout the city, almost every locale, from Joe's Cafe to the Armani Bar lays out a spread of anything from peanuts and crisps to plates of pasta and rice, pizza, salad, and roast chicken. Depending on where you go it can be a real feast, as long as you are willing to pay the 6 to 8 euros per drink in order to enjoy the all-you-can-eat buffet.
What really interests me about the aperitivo however, is the cultural take on it, and the way in which different personalities and backgrounds seem to shine through. When faced with a spread of free food, your average Italian will dive straight in, automatically reaching for the long toothpick with which to spear the various goodies lined up on the counter. We Brits are more reserved. I have actually seen a group of English tourists form a queue at the start of the buffet, plastic plate in hand, only to be stampeded by the passing locals. I remember when I was fairly new to Milan and my friends took me for an aperitivo in a trendy bar in the city centre. The fried olives were proving tricky to spear with the long toothpick, and following various attempts, involving chasing a damn olive around the dish to no avail, I finally picked it up with my fingers, and dropped it on my plate guiltily. I looked up to find one of my friends grinning from ear to ear. "You managed to catch it then?!".
I've decided that the best philosophy when it comes to l'ora dell'aperitivo is 'elbows at the ready', and if all else fails, just pick the stuff up with your fingers - chances are everyone else is too busy digging in themselves to notice....