Firstly, it's important to note that arguably the best time to drink wine Italian-style is during Aperitivo? What's that? It's basically their version of "happy hour" though with a lot more restraint and respect. In American culture, happy hour is more like a party hour, in which cocktails and finger food reign supreme. But with aperitivo, it's not just about liquor, but rather you're opening up your palette for dinner. And you know that Italians sure have some mean dinners! With a glass of wine before the actual meal starts, it's a way of preparing your appetite. And what a great way it is!
When you're actually eating dinner, wine is practically the only beverage you should have. That's the way Italians do it. At times, they eat dinner only to have a glass of wine, not because they're hungry themselves. Be it red or white wine, this drink goes with anything. But it does pair best with pasta, though. This is because, generally speaking, pasta isn't that heavy a dish so pairing it with a glass of fine wine balances the meal out. Fortunately, there's a good number of kinds of pasta that you can easily make in your own home to really rake in that Italian experience.
Fine Italian cuisine is all about balancing your palette with certain tastes. And when you're having a glass of wine, which itself is quite as strong drink already, at times, good cheese is enough. In fact, many people across the Mediterranean, not just the Italians, love pairing good cheese with their fine wine. IT keeps their palettes in check and provides equal amounts of savory goodness and strong zingers. For Italian cheeses, some great options include Taleggio, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Provolone. They all have their own delicious tastes that are strong enough on their own to go well with wine, especially red wine!
Now for something sweet. Though there is such a thing as "dessert wine," Italians don't necessarily go for that sort of thing. Their own desserts, particularly the rich and creamy gelato, are already so rich enough on their own that pairing them with wine might be an overkill. And since wine is such a strong beverage, it might work against the sweetness of whatever dessert you're eating. So if you still want to continue drinking the good stuff even after the main meal, just go for fruits for dessert. Grapes, of course, work well with wine. But also any kind of berry you have in your fridge!
Remember that Italians have a zest for life? Well, that includes drinking wine too. And this is why they often do that with many people. When you go to Italy, you'll notice that wine-tasting is a common activity among locals and tourists alike. It's a great way to meet people, connect with them, and come out having new friends by the end of the night. Sure, enjoying some fine wine alone is good and all, ut for the Italians, that's sort of depressing. They share their wine with people they like, love, and want to get to know!
When you're done finishing your glass of wine, there's one last drink to take before you end the night, the digestivo. Sounds like medicine, right? Well, it sort of is in a way. This special drink, which can also consist of an alcoholic beverage, is drank to aid your digestion. you just had a rich Italian meal and you paid it all with a few glasses of wine. Of course, you're going to need help digesting it all. The Italians know this and they've concocted their own beverage to finish everything off smoothly. They've thought of everything, really!
Having a big glass of wine makes you feel like an Italian, right? Well, don't just copy the feeling, make it more authentic by doing it the way they do in Italy! Youll find that drinking wine is not just recreational, it's its own ritual too!