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Aperitif Sicilian Style

Aperitif Sicilian Style

What is an aperitif?

The earliest sources of the aperitif go way back to medicine man Hippocrates. His bitter brews opened his patients’ appetite. The Latin word aperitivus translates as ‘that what opens’.

The bitterness remained a central theme. In the nineteenth century Turin was the aperitif capital. Vermouth made its entry and has since settled as a regular in the aperitif landscape.

Once the appetite reappeared, people needed food. You see, a logic process. Balanced, smooth and somehow healthy.

Vermouth, the first aperitif in Turin

Sicilian style aperitif

aperitif at Il Siciliano in Palermo

The North Italian tradition of having aperitifs came down to Sicily. Along the way the concept mutated. And Sicilians gave it a personal touch.

Whereas much of the drinks remained similar, food served didn’t. Local chefs invented and alternated new dishes. What is most typical is the quantity. Sicilians can’t stand seeing hungry people. That is the biggest offense imaginable. 

The favorable climate permits eating and drinking outside. Almost all year round. 

No cutlery

Traditionally there is no cutlery present. Portions are small and do not require cutting. Bringing food to your mouth using your fingers allows a peculiar sensation. A primal, almost tribal way of eating. The presence of sticks complete this sensation. The Spanish tapa and pintxos tradition comes close to the Italian one. Small portions served on bread while drinking. Nice. Both the Spanish and Italian tradition derailed in recent years. Sometimes leading to interesting, new approaches. Sometimes resulting in extreme banality, embarrassing its origins.

Spanish aperitif, pintxos and tapas

Aperitif and dinner, apericena

The aperitif proceeds dinner. In theory. Recently aperitif time and dinner started to converge. That is how the ‘apericena‘ came forth. Where brunch unites breakfast and lunch, apericena combines aperitif and dinner.

The rules change though. The appearance of cutlery for example. And, alas, the dreaded buffet and all-you-can-eat formula. Very few places keep the standard high. Low cost dinner does not exist. Should not exist. 

all you can eat, all you should not eat

On the menu

Caponata seem to be made for the occasion.

Polpetto of all types. Ranging from meat over vegetables all the way to legumes.

Cheese, Sicilian pride.

Olives of all kind and form.

Avoid heavy and overfilling dishes. Because you don’t want to spoil dinner, do you?

la caciotta, an excellent Sicilian cheese

More food articles

cutting board with cold meat, a chili pepper and a knife: very Sicilian indeed

Further more

man sleeping on a bench with a typical Sicilian hat

From dusk till dawn

From dusk till dawn

An arbitrary selection of the finest place to stay overnight
silhouette of a man eating, wearing a typical Sicilian Coppola

Dig in

Dig in

Feeling peckish, hungry or ravenous?
waiter, please