I signed up for a new program called Blogging for Books, and you guessed it, it's just as the name implies. I know that I should have probably gone straight for a baking book, but this colorful little book dedicated the Spritz spoke directly to me.
My attraction to this book could have been a result of my fondness for the Italian Spritz cocktail that came to fruition years ago when my hubs, Dayn, and I were able to take our dream trip to France and Italy. This is going to make me sound like such a clichéd a-hole, and I am actually rolling my eyes at myself as I type but... we first fell in love with the Spritz while wandering the cobblestone paths along the canals of Venice. Worst. I know. Sorry.
While winding our way through the endless, hot and sticky cinnamon roll that is Venice, we kept seeing folks sipping on an electric orange elixir – a color that I immediately associated with the repellent taste of DayQuil. Blech. But the Italians seemed to be enjoying this technicolor cocktail while sitting in the beating sun, so we decided we had to get to the bottom of it right then and there.
Turns out, the drink tastes nothing like DayQuil, but actually a bittersweet mix of citrus herbaceous-ness with a spritzy, sparkly kick. This neon drink that quenched our thirst and our curiosity is actually Italy’s most iconic aperitivo cocktail, the Spritz. I vaguely recall the origins of the Spritz mentioned by our born-and-bred Venetian Airbnb host. He said something about the Austrians invading and watering down Italian wines as he ushered us past the neoclassical church, Campo San Barnaba, that stood in as the library with a secret route to catacombs in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Under the spell of an afternoon of Spritzes followed by seemingly bottomless juice glasses of wine at every bacaro we popped into, I was obviously way more focused on my boy Indy than the history of the Spritz.
I now know more than I ever imagined about the rise of Italy’s most famous aperitivo thanks to this informative and witty little book; Spritz: Italy's Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes, by Talia Baiocchi & Leslie Pariseua. Their casual, la dolce vita approach to writing kept my brain quenched and made me long to live out the spritz life. The Spritz has been an easy, sunny afternoon drinker for the hubs and I for years since visiting Italy. Now armed with this blue and orange bound biblioteca of all things Spritz, we’ve been able to refine our technique and branch out into other riffs on the classic aperitivo.
This book mimics the simplicity, lightheartedness and leisurely pace of the Spritz. I recommend it to anyone who has a special place in their heart for the comforting and breezy Italian lifestyle. The book rekindled my personal love of the Spritz and inspired me to come up with a new recipe that takes the work out of baking and allows for a day of relaxation and indulgence. This easy, breezy, Aperol Spritz Panna Cotta combines the iconic Italian bitter with a simple, creamy panna cotta, topped with a bittersweet layer of Aperol and Prosecco drunken Cara Cara oranges infusing sunshine and the spritz life into every bite.
It’s hot, you’re tired, and you deserve to transport yourself to an Italian piazza where the aperitivos and digestifs bookend a great meal and pair beautifully with this Aperol Spritz Panna Cotta any time of day. Treat yourself and raise a Spritz or an Aperol Spritz Panna Cotta to la dolce vita!
*Note: I prefer to use Cara Cara oranges in this recipe for their bright and sunny color, low acidity and tangy sweet flavor. Traditional Navel oranges work just as well.
***I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.