When we left Europe over two years ago, we took some of our favorite traditions with us. One of which we enjoy most is the beloved French apéritif, also known as aperitivo in Italy or what one would equate to meze i rakija in Serbia, just to name a few. Though each culture has its slight variations on the tradition, the fundamental concept is the same: it's the moment to unwind after a long workday but before mealtime or that late afternoon weekend pause where one begins to rouse the palate for the main meal.
It is a very specific and significant tradition enjoyed throughout Europe, and you guessed it, there is no real American equivalent. In the U.S., people tend to spend this interlude afterwork and before dinner at a bar with friends, but the key ingredient of L'Apéro is missing. This casual affair is almost always enjoyed within the intimacy of someone's home (or garden). It's neither happy hour nor a traditional dinner party. It stands alone.
So what's so special about this tradition? Well, it is the moment of disconnecting from the personal and professional responsibilities we all carry and taking a break to breathe, unwind, bask in the good company of friends or family and enjoy some light bites and drinks - savouring the good things in life! Whether hosting or acting as an attendee, this is truly a casual and relaxed affair. There is no fuss around any of the preparation. Speaking of, key essentials include: marinated olives, mixed nuts, cherry tomatoes, une planche of charcuterie or cheese and maybe a few dips and spreads.
But the key element that ties everything together is the thoughtful selection of light alcohol. Beer is always appreciated and wine is obligatoire! Our go-to, especially for summertime apéro is rosé. And we have discovered the best possible choice: La Boutanche (thanks to Selection Massale), a wonderful, light, crisp natural rosé with a zippy finish produced in the Loire Valley (specifically in Azay le Rideau). We highly recommend with caution because one bottle will surely be followed by a second, or third, or…
Santé les amis !