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Buon happy-tito! It’s party time

Easy nibbles and tantalising treats washed down with a cocktail or three… get into the spirit of celebration with these Italian aperitivo ideas

Food writer and cookery school teacher, Liz Franklin, was inspired by a trip to Venice to write her book, Cicchetti, about the snack-size portions of food served in bacari (wine bars) alongside a glass of ombre (literally meaning ‘shadow’) – the local vino, so-called from the days when wine merchants used to store their barrels in the shadows of San Marco’s bell tower to keep them cool.

Italians may not consider snacking on cicchetti anything particularly extraordinary – it’s usually considered aperitivo, a pre-dinner nibble with wine and a catch-up with friends – but the dishes also lend themselves well to festive parties and special occasions, when you want to serve easy-to-make, yet impressive, celebration food, together with refreshing, Venetian-inspired cocktails (see recipes on page 112).

Convivial and hospitable Venetians love to linger a while, enjoying these wonderful morsels, so be inspired by the feelings behind the food, embrace the simplicity of the dishes, and gather your loved ones together to see in the new year with a bit of Italian spirit. Felice anno nuovo!


This is my adaptation of a simple cicchetto I had at Cantina Do Mori. It’s a lovely place – and supposedly the oldest bacari in Venice. If you can’t find baby aubergines, choose one that is longer rather than very round.

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Psychologies January 2017 - How To Be Charming