It’s no secret that Venetians, well-known or anonymous, cherish their hometown favorite and, purportedly, Italy’s signature aperitivo (cocktail), the Spritz Veneziano (Venetian Spritz).
Made with the Fratelli Barbieri ‘s secret bitter Aperol, a healthy amount of Prosecco, a splash of soda water, one green olive and a slice of orange, the Venetian Spritz is THE drink of La Serenissima.
On the other side of the country, due west of the Lagoon, is Milan, the Bel Paese’s button-down business and banking hub in the Lombardia region AND an epicenter for world fashion.
Like Venice, Milan, the other half of the old Regno Lombardo-Veneto (Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia), was under Austrian rule (House of Habsburg-Lorraine) for quite some time during the 18th and 19th centuries and fell victim to the occupier’s practice of spritzen (German for splashing), diluting strong Italian wine with splashes of water.
If Venice covets Aperol, then the same can be said of Milan and its beloved Campari.
An alcoholic liqueur, Campari is in the family of amari (bitters) and is an infusion of approximately 80 herbs, plants and fruit. Supposedly, only three members of the Campari inner circle know the exact ingredients that go into this bitter, and they’re not talkin’.
Campari was created back in 1860 by Gaspare Campari, a master drink maker who honed his craft serving up his creations to the elite of Turin. Eventually, he brought his talent, the secret bitter and his namesake brand to Milan where he launched the family business (restaurant, bar and wine shop) under a large Campari sign in the iconic Galleria di Vittorio Emanuele II, the world’s oldest enclosed shopping mall named in honor of the first king of the Kingdom of Italy.
Campari‘s distinctive red color was an immediate hit after its first pour and gave rise to the national pastime of drinking aperitivi — a simple excuse to join up with friends or business partners at a local watering hole to discuss the day’s events, close a deal or plot the future. Yes, we can all give thanks to Signor Campari for this refreshing daily ritual.
Today, Campari, the “red passion,” is the essential ingredient for a host of internationally-known aperitivi: Negroni, l’Americano, Garibaldi, Spritz and other short and long drinks. We’ll get to them all, one glass at a time, starting with the crowd-pleasing Spritz Campari.
Step-2: Pour in the Campari
Step-3: Add the water
Step-4: Add the Prosecco
Step-5: Float the orange slice on top
Step-6: Cin Cin!
Milan and Venice, once united under a single kingdom during Austrian rule, now separated by two bottles of bitter. If given the choice, which one would you choose, Aperol or Campari?
©The Palladian Traveler
Note: Don’t miss the Italian Food, Wine and Travel (ItalianFWT) Twitter chat this Saturday, May 7th at 11 a.m. EST @ #ItalianFWT to talk about Italy’s Lombardia region. To prep for the chat, just click on the following blogs.
Vino Travels: Chiavennasca of Lombardia vs. Nebbiolo of Piedmont
The Wining Hour: Vines and Views of Valtellina Valley
Culinary Adventures of Camilla: Sbrisolana and Cantina Casteggio Barbera
Girls Gotta Drink: Franciacorta Wine Region: Italian Sparkling Wine For the Win!
Enofylz Wine Blog: Franciacorta: The World Class Italian Sparkling Wine
Food Wine Click: Valtellina: Another Expression of Nebbiolo
Orna O’Reilly: Sirmione: Pearl of Lake Garda
Cooking Chat: Grilled Halibut with Parsley Pesto and Wine from Lombardia
L’Occasion: 36 Hours in Lombardy
Vignette Communications: Lombardia: A Wealth of Wine
And, next month, June 4th, ItalianFWT‘s spotlight will fall on the Liguria, completing its first tour around all 20 of the Bel Paese‘s regions.