Why I always drink Prosecco before dinner
by Menbere Aklilu
In my recent trip to Italy, I had the chance to have dinner with some old friends. I had actually worked as a maid, cleaning toilets, washing dishes and cooking for their family just after Christian was born. It was in their kitchen that I learned many of the recipes that I serve at Salute today. We spent hours at the table, reminiscing. It was there, at a little trattoria in Rome that I realized that the one thing I miss the most about living in Europe is the ritual of eating. In Rome and most of Europe, eating involves hours at the table with multi-course meals where good wine plays a supporting role to food. Here, in America, I feel we rush through meals, always too busy to slow down and enjoy life.
One of my favorite dining rituals is the aperitivo. In America, people drink martinis before dinner, but this does nothing for the palette or the digestion. In Italy we always start dinner with an aperitivo, they’re meant to stimulate the appetite and prime the senses for the meal. The aperitivo is a sort of statement, it says “I’m here to eat. I’m here to enjoy myself and my company and I’m in no hurry.” Some common aperitivos are Gin and Tonic, sweet vermouth with soda water over ice, and of course my favorite, Prosecco.
Nothing says I’m ready to enjoy a great meal with good friends than a glass of chilled Prosecco. I always taught Christian, my son, that a good Prosecco is meant to clean out the taste (both physically and mentally) of the day and prepare the palette for the evening. It marks the shift from daytime worries to an evening of friends and family. Great Prosecco is normally light, frothy, clean and airy, and often times has a touch of sweetness, which helps in preparing you for your meal.
Next time you sit down for dinner with your friends and family start off with a glass of Prosecco and see how the worries of the day wash away and don’t forget: a tavola non si invecchia!