The cultural ritual forged from the Italian love of conversation and conviviality that celebrates the hours between work and dinner …
Italian people do so many things well. Art, fashion, opera, football and of course, food. But it’s the cultural tradition of aperitivo hour that enthuses me the most. Aperitivo hour is the glorious combination of pre-dinner drinks and finger food, derived from the Latin word aperire, which means “to open” the palate (and stomach) before the serious business of dinner ensues. But aperitivo hour is so much more. It’s a cultural ritual forged from the Italian love of conversation and conviviality that celebrates the hours between work and dinner. Classic aperitivo fare includes a selection of olives, cheese, salumi, crackers, nuts and bread enjoyed with a bitter, effervescent and low alcohol drink such as the ever popular Aperol or Campari. Cin cin!
Three Storey, St Stephen’s Green
A relatively new addition to the Dublin bar and restaurant scene, Three Storey is – as you may have guessed – three storeys that incorporate a ground floor café and spritzeria, a first floor cocktail bar and a third floor restaurant. In the spritzeria, the rhubarb spritz is heaven in a glass on a sunny evening and when paired with nibbles such as anchovies on toast or the cheese plate with cured meats you will be feeling no pain, of that I can attest to. Aperitivo hour purists will enjoy the Campari soda or indeed the Americano – and I don’t mean the coffee. www.threestorey.ie
Il Fornaio, various locations
Founded in 1998, Il Fornaio have been serving up authentic Italian food and aperitifs for quite some time now so it’s safe to say they know what they are doing. The Dawson Street branch has a dedicated aperitivo menu that includes arancine, bruschetta and antipasto along with Italian classic thirst quenchers such as the ubiquitous Aperol or Campari spritz, Martini (bianco and rosso) and of course, the Americano. From June, there will be live music on Friday and Saturday evenings. www.ilfornaio.ie
L’Enoteca Di Napoli, Ristorante di Napoli, Il Caffe di Napoli, Westland Row and Fenian Street
You had me at Sgroppino, a palate cleanser of lemon sorbet, Grey Goose vodka and prosecco. If that doesn’t tempt you then perhaps an Apple spritz or a Venezia will pique your interest. Add on the antipasto platter at €25 for two to three people sharing and aperitivo hour appears to be a very clever idea indeed. www.enotecadinapoli.ie
Caffe Cagliostro, Italian Quarter
Crodino anyone? Not only does Café Cagliostro serve the usual Italian classics, but the alcohol free aperitif Crodino also makes an appearance on the aperitivo menu. There is also an entire spritz menu including Cynar spritz and a Negroni Sbagliato for those who like to live dangerously – every Friday and Saturday the café turns into a ‘Spritzeria’. Food wise, there is pizza by the slice, a selection of piadine, panini and focaccia and for those with a sweeter tooth, bombolini (baby donuts) for just €1. www.wallacewinebars.ie
And finally, for a DIY Aperitivo hour at home…
For those entertaining at home, Salumi Grazing can supply (for delivery or collection) all your aperitvo hour food needs and you can pick up your own Aperol. For something different, Ramona’s Amarino spritz from Winelab is an organic Italian spritz, made from organic grapes, citrus and an array botanicals.