Yep, this is a good blog subject, to read about and, let’s be honest, to do research on... I can't exhaust this question in just one blog post, as there are too many good options, and also it will leave me with no excuse to continue researching! So today I am writing about where I like to go for aperitivo in Monforte D’Alba, my home town. Stay tuned for more aperitivo hot spots...
What exactly is aperitivo, you may ask? Italians think about food all the time. Even when they are eating, they are planning their next meal. So what do you do, after a big lunch, and a nap, but before you can think about dinner at 8pm (or 9pm, depending on how ‘European’ you are)? Cue aperitivo. It’s that idle time between nap and dinner time when Italians get to think about food again... over a drink. 'Nuff said.
Here is a list of some of my regular places in Monforte D’Alba, depending on my mood.
Moda: set in an old palace recently and decadently refurbished, aperitivo here makes you feel like a million bucks. And for only about 5 euros (depending on the wine), you get a good glass of wine or bubbles (various Italian choices and champagne too) and a beautiful array of upmarket snacks. When the weather is fine, you can sit outside, listening to the bubbling fountain in a beautifully manicured terrace overlooking Monforte village and the Alps on a clear day. A-mazing.
Saracca: in case you don’t want to opt for the palace, you can choose an old medieval castle instead! Just up the road from Moda, owner Giulio and bar chick Sara are the perfect hosts. There is a great range of wines by the glass and a huge smorgasbord of cured meats, cheeses, olives and various daily snacks. A great venue, and a great vibe, always, and particularly good for the cooler, winter months. Also, you can drink here until all hours, so think of it as a place for a night cap as well as an aperitivo!
Barolo Bar: more of a local institution, located down a side street off the main piazza. In summer, they offer aperitivo on the terrazza, which is a beautiful open area opposite the bar upstairs. Drinks can be hoisted up with an old basket and pulley ‘system’. At the moment, on Wednesday nights they have live music (could be rock bands, DJs, Latino or acoustic). Again, an interesting array of wines and snacks, plus it is also a bottle shop, so if you like the wine you tried, you can take it home for dinner.
Grappolo D’Oro: another Monforte D’Alba institution in prime location, choose this place for people watching. Perch yourself in the main square of the bustling little village, and watch the people come and go. Plus, if you have kids, they can run around the piazza, if they are not otherwise being entertained / distracted by Italians (men, women and children alike) doting on them. Snacks are more limited – think bowls of chips and nuts.
Locanda della Contessa Berta: a new comer, but a force to be reckoned with. Run by two young friends, Davide and Valentina, this is another good option for an aperitivo in the square, but from a different angle.
I'm always looking for more aperitivo options (for research purposes, of course). Do you have a favourite bar for aperitivo?
Eleanor Fletcher - living in the heart of the Langhe, Monforte D'Alba (Barolo). Searching for great eats, formidable drinks and fun times. Married to a Barolo and Barbaresco producer, plus a mother of two 'principesse'.