In This Issue
Italian Saying
Things They Eat in Italy
Summer Aperitivi
Recipe for your summer cocktails
This month's Italian saying: 

Tutto fa brodo! 
Everything makes broth, soup!

This isn't a cooking reference; it means that every little bit helps. If a store clerk or waiter gives you a discount, you may think tutto fa brodo, though you may not want to say it aloud. You don't after all want to denigrate the clerk or waiter's gracious gesture.

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Unusual Things They Eat in Italy

Pig's Tail 
When they say that Italians eat "everything but the oink" in a pig, they mean tails too!  I'm not sure how you would cook a pig tail but I have a feeling it's similar to how you would prepare an oxtail.
You just need more of them!  And at just 75 cents a pound, you can afford to buy a lot of them!

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Ciao amici!
It is feeling like summer! In this newsletter we are saluting negroni and all aperitivi - as this week is the " international negroni week".
Why not get in the " spirit" of it all and share some of our favorites and the history of this tradition.

Next week we'll welcome our groups to Piedmont and Tuscany! Check into facebook or instagram to see what we're up to and follow along with us.
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Buon viaggio e Buon appetito! 
Gina and Mary  
Summer Aperitivi
In the spirit of international Negroni week, here's a little insight into the aperitivo, that time-honored tradition in Italy of enjoying a light cocktail before dinner. The ritual of taking time at the end of the day to have a drink in the company of friends is quintessentially Italian, preferably in a lovely café or sitting at a table in an historic piazza. The word aperitivo originates from the Latin verb aperire which means "to open," and the purpose of an aperitivo is to stimulate and open your appetite, preparing you to eat the evening meal. Italian aperitivi are lighter than American cocktails and have a base of bitters or vermouths, all of which help with digestion.

The aperitivo culture of northern Italy, especially in cities like Torino and Milano, is legendary, and a number of famous cocktails originated from this ritual. The creator of the vermouth Carpano Antico, Antonio Benedetto Carpano, is believed to have started the tradition in Torino in 1786. Gaspare Campari opened a café in Milano in the 1860's and began serving his home-brewed invention, Campari bitters. Campari and soda is a classic aperitivo and still very much la moda today.

The Negroni is said to have been invented in Florence in 1919 by a Count Camillo Negroni and is equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. The Count must have been influenced by the English aristocracy that was so much a part of Florentine society at that time - gin is very much an English spirit and the Negroni cocktail is much higher in alcohol than what is normally drunk before dinner in Italy.

Having experienced this tradition all over Italy, we think the best place to have an aperitivo is in an elegant historic café in a city, especially in northern Italy. The cocktails are beautifully made and served in lovely glasses with a slice of lemon or orange and they are always served with snacks. The Italians believe you should never drink without something to eat, and these stuzzichini can be as simple as peanuts, olives or chips, although some bars offer more elaborate nibbles like finger sandwiches, pizza rounds and vegetables. Many bars have their own signature cocktails in addition to the classics.

Below are some of the more traditional aperitivi. They are simple to make and refreshing to drink whether you're in an Italian piazza or on your own terrace or patio this summer, so try one! Remember that one or two aperitivi open your appetite; three or four close it down, so plan dinner accordingly!

- equal parts gin, Campari bitters, and sweet vermouth like Cinzano or Martini & Rossi

- means "wrong" and is so called because someone screwed up making a negroni! Equal parts prosecco, Campari and vermouth. More than likely, the Italians just felt the gin was too heavy and substituted a lighter sparkling white wine

- equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth with a splash of soda

Spritz - a Venetian classic, its 3 parts prosecco to 1 part Aperol, an orange bitters from the Veneto, with a splash of soda.

Vermouth - Lots of lovely vermouths are made in northern Italy and are enjoyed before dinner over ice. Made by steeping bitter and floral herbs in wine, it's both an Italian and French classic.

Campari (or Aperol) and soda
- a classic and a bit of an acquired taste but once you fall in love with it, every sip takes you back to Italy!

All of these classics are served either over ice or straight up and garnished with an orange peel.
Nibbles for your Aperitivi
You can keep it simple with a variety of olives and nuts or make something special to go with your cocktails. Here is one of our favorites and perfect for the spring and summer:

Fried Sage Leaves 
If you're lucky enough to have a perennial sage plant in your garden, you know that in the spring when it starts growing again, the leaves it puts out are huge! Perfect for frying and eating. 

Super simple, the batter is unmeasured and a quick and easy combo of flour, salt and either white wine or soda water. Heat peanut oil in a skillet and dip each leaf in the hot oil, turning as they get golden brown on one side. Remove when golden brown, drain on paper towels.

If you want to get fancy, you can spread a little anchovy paste (the tube you brought back from Italy last time. What? You didn't?? Well, come with us and we'll show you where to pick one up!) and sandwich two sage leaves together with it, dipping into the batter and frying, draining on paper towels and enjoy.

This is a perfect snack while you're sipping your negroni or spritz, dreaming of Italy!

Batter for Frying vegetables or sage leaves
white wine
Put flour and salt in a bowl; with a whisk begin adding the wine, whisking to avoid any lumps from forming, until the mixture is the consistency of a thin pancake batter. Allow to sit for a few minutes. Dip the sage leaves and fry in hot oil.
This batter is excellent for frying any vegetables.