Month: August 2018

Anisette, Salatini and Aperitivi

When I first read about ouzeries I was gobsmacked. In Greece ouzeries are small eateries that specialize in mezes (appetizers) meant to accompany ouzo. Are there, I wonder, similar establishments in France, Italy, Spain and beyond? In Italy, the answer is something of a yes. Aperitifs  (aperitivi in Italian) are drinks  – often with alcohol content – that are meant to get the digestive juices flowing – to, literally, open the appetite. Anisette is such an aperitivo that is often served with salatini – the small nibbles that can include potato chips (what??!), nuts, olives and such. Many establishments will serve salatini with your anisette. Happily, in some places there are actual establishments that are more like ouzeries. One such, on my list of places to visit, is Renzetti Aperitivo&Bar in Civitanova Marche where I’m staying at the lovely B&B Casa tra gli Ulivi  (in an olive grove). I found it through Booking.com (which has a woman CEO, Gillian Tans!) where you’ll find me sipping and savoring along the Adriatic.

Anise and the Adriatic

I don’t drink. Now, that’s a strange statement to launch a blog about sipping anise-flavored liquors around the Mediterranean, but it’s true. Except for one raucous evening in the south of Spain when I was 19, I’ve mostly consumed one glass of wine with dinner a couple of times a week. So why am I on a quest to sip sip anise-flavored liquors around the Mediterranean? I grew up a 3rd generation Italian-American in the mid-50s in a rural town of 6,000 (where Mr. Ferguson plowed our driveway with a horse drawn plow!). Differences of national origin weren’t highlighted in ways that I noticed. I did have hints of my family’s uniqueness though – Donna’s family didn’t have lasagna at Christmas. Marilyn’s family didn’t have ravioli with their Thanksgiving turkey. And no one had a Nana who fried squid. Squid! Now, it’s all the rage. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the flavor of Easter was anise. Easter – a holiday marked by many courses beginning with a breakfast of the anise flavored …