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Get to Know the Mediterranean Aperitivo

Our contributor explains how to pair food and drink from around the Mediterranean for an elevated aperitivo experience.

A cocktail made with Vermouth di Torino.

A cocktail made with Vermouth di Torino.

Known interchangeably as an Aperitif or Aperitivo, this pre-dinner drink holds a special place in many cultures, especially across Europe. In Italy, France, Spain, and Greece, the aperitif is a cherished tradition deeply woven into social and culinary traditions. While it brings people together to relax, socialize, and enjoy the flavors of the region, it also serves as a delightful precursor to a meal, awakening the senses and setting the stage for a pleasant dining experience. 

Typically, the aperitif involves a variety of wines, beers, and spirits like Aperol or Campari, often mixed with soda water, tonic, Prosecco, or other liqueurs. These are enjoyed alongside small bites such as olives, bruschetta, cheese, charcuterie, and more, each showcasing the flavors of the region.  

Extra virgin olive oil and olives from Greece.
Extra virgin olive oil and olives from Greece.

The Mediterranean Aperitivo, however, is a little different. It captures the essence of the Mediterranean region, incorporating flavors, ingredients, and characteristics from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. This campaign by the European Union highlights products like Vermouth di Torino, Pecorino Toscano, Costa d’Amalfi Lemons, and Greek Olives, celebrating their excellence and promoting awareness of their origins. During the EU campaign, I had the pleasure of experiencing the Mediterranean Aperitivo firsthand in Greece, where I explored these delightful products in more detail. 

Costa d'Amalfi lemons with Limoncello.
Costa d'Amalfi Lemons with Limoncello.

Pecorino Toscano, a sheep's milk cheese from Tuscany, is known for its quality and versatility. Vermouth di Torino, a fortified wine from Piedmont, Italy, offers a range of flavors and styles, perfect for cocktails like Martinis and Negronis. Costa d’Amalfi Lemons, with their intense citrus aromas, are ideal for cocktails and flavoring spirits. And Greek Olives, globally recognized for their quality, contribute to sustainability and biodiversity in Greece. A key element of the Mediterranean Aperitivo is its focus on quality and authenticity. These specific products are all protected by geographical indications, ensuring that they are produced according to strict standards and guidelines.

Pecorino Toscano cheese.
Pecorino Toscano cheese.

Ultimately, the Mediterranean Aperitivo isn't just about the food and drinks; it's about embracing a relaxed and convivial lifestyle, celebrating fresh, flavorful ingredients, and enjoying the company of friends and family. So, whether you're enjoying a glass of Vermouth di Torino from Italy or savoring olives from Greece, raise a glass to the rich history and flavors of the Mediterranean Aperitivo

Follow Li on Instagram for more. 

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