Title

Italy embraces the student supper

Published January 2nd, 2016

The aperitivo is an old and civilised Italian custom, particularly in the north – a way of rounding off the working day by gathering in a bar for drinks and nibbles before heading home for dinner. Some bar owners offer more than just nuts and olives but, basically, the custom belongs to an old-style Italy, where mamma’s food is best and the family gathers around her table each night.

But that is changing: mamma may be out at work herself, rather than in the kitchen hand-rolling tortelloni. In the past few years, starting in Milan and Turin, a new twist on the custom caters for students and a younger crowd – who perhaps don’t have the funds for a restaurant dinner, or the time to go home and eat before hitting the clubs.

Kitsch Bar, Florence.

This is the apericena (formed by adding cena – dinner – to aperitivo). Bars started offering a buffet of homemade hot and cold dishes with evening drinks – substantial enough to constitute a light dinner – at a relatively light price, often €10 ($A15) for one drink and the buffet.

High-end spots, with a great view or setting, say, rarely charge more than €20 ($A30). Now, to the consternation of traditional restaurateurs, apericena joints have sprung up in many university cities – in Pisa, Florence, Bologna and Padua. Crostini, bruschette, salads, roasted vegetables, cured meats, baked pastas, risottos and hot and cold meat and fish dishes, plus desserts from tarts to ice-creams, make satisfying and affordable fuel for a night on the tiles.


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Milan

In Milan, apericena’s spiritual home, the Exotic restaurant and bar, a short walk from the university, makes a feature of it on Monday nights, with a €10 ($A15) buffet of salads, pastas, meats and vegetable dishes. At 10pm it is replaced by a dessert buffet: nutella-stuffed pastries, ice-cream and fruit.

Turin

In Turin, those in the know make for studenty, cinema-themed Lobelix Cafe on Via Corte d’Appello. It’s decorated with old film posters and strips of film, and €11 ($A16) buys a drink (aperitif, glass of wine or draught beer) plus unlimited visits to the buffet of pasta, veg, meat and fish dishes – with glass covers to keep everything fresh and appetising. Food can be eaten on the closed-in terrace with views of the obelisk in Piazza Savoia.

Florence

Visitors to Italy’s tourist meccas can also enjoy the trend: studenty areas are the best bet. In Florence, Kitsch bar on Viale Gramsci is as ornate as the name suggests, and does a generous buffet of pastas and meat and veg dishes, plus fruit and cake (€10/$A15 for first drink, subsequent drinks €4/$A6).

It’s mostly Tuscan food, but does occasional themed nights, such as Mexican. There is another branch, Kitsch Devx, near the station.

A photo posted by giorgiaripamonti (@reapow) on

Rome

Apericena is harder to find in the south, but Bar Pappagallo (via Anastasio II 45), behind the Vatican gardens in Rome, does an amazing value one for €8 ($A12) every night until 10pm, with a cocktail, beer or wine, plus risottos, house-made pasta, veg, cold meats and cheese, and tasty nibbles like arancini.


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This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk

This article was written by Liz Boulter from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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