When dreaming of Italy one of the first things we imagine is ending each day in a quaint little bar tucked into a corner of one of Itay’s many picturesque squares enjoying un aperitivo and watching in awe as the locals enjoy their daily passegiata with friends and loved ones. It’s an idyllic image which many visitors to Italy have enjoyed time and time again. From north to south, aperitivo is a way of life for Italians and tourists alike; a way to unwind from a hard day’s work, or sightseeing, and to catch up with loved ones before dinner. Aperitivo is a ritual that many Italians hold dear. The local bar becomes a meeting point, a communal center that brings people together in a very social environment, and sharing something delicious to eat accompanied by a glass of the local wine or a spritz is at the heart of local life.
Today would have been our first day hosting our lovely guests for our Spring in Sicily tour. Alas, this year it was not meant to be. However, today, as I share this Journal entry with you, my wonderful tour partner Ciro is making his way across the island discovering incredible new destinations for our exciting new tours for 2021. During his adventures he’s reconnecting with old friends, no doubt enjoying a little aperitivo along the way, and rediscovering all that his homeland has to offer, while Sicily remerges from months of lockdown. So, as Ciro savors his hugo (his aperitivo cocktail of choice!) I decided to bring a little slice of Sicily home to Australia and make my own smorgasbord. Popping down to my local deli I filled my basket with all sorts of Italian inspired goodies, overflowing with cheeses, prosciutto, melon, fresh figs, pistachios, artichokes, Sicilian green olives, and of course a bottle of cool crisp Sicilian wine from my local specialist wine shop. Perfetto!
If you are missing Italy, or you simply want an excuse to indulge in a little aperitivo of your own, I say “go forth, pile those platters high!” and don’t stop until the table is groaning. And as you are taking your first sip of vino bianco (or rosso!), do as my mum suggests and “close your eyes and dream of Italy”.