May 18, 2017

Pompeii (5) The Year of the Spritz --- History of the world

Yes, we're back in Positano, or we are still in Positano because Julia, our hostess, has an uncle who runs this restaurant, and they would pick us up and deliver us back safely despite the fact that the road is barely fit for mules. And this is what we get as the welcome drink: THE SPRITZ. (Henry James also used capitalisation extensively).

When we arrived in Venice in 1988 on a research assignment, our host Massimo picked us up at the airport and delivered us almost directly---we had a brief look at a Tintoretto in a nearby church first---to a small café and ordered something we surely had never heard of. "The Spritz." It's a German word introduced by the Austrians when they ruled Venice from 1815 to 1866, meaning a "dash" of something stronger into a small glass of white wine. It was great and we ordered a few more. Then. 

I returned to Venice repeatedly, but it was only in 2013 that I was confronted with the NEW SPRITZ as you see it on the picture. This Spritz is made from Prosecco and a dashy new version of strong water unfortunately dubbed Aperol. The color is great, the taste is mild, and chunks of lemon and orange are added for effect. There's a Hitchcock movie where the poisonous drink is served to the unsuspecting suspect in a glass illuminated by a little light bulb hidden in a translucent olive. Along those lines. 

Okay, and now, this year, THIS IS THE YEAR OF THE SPRITZ. Everywhere you go, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and today, St. Raphael, FRANCE (not shown)---the Aperol Spritz is everywhere. We ordered white wine in St. Raphael.

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