One of my favorite parts of living in Italy is the amazing and beautiful notion of aperitivo. Aperitivo is a time between around 5:30-8:30 in my experiences (differs in different regions) where you are served small meals, in a kind of tapas fashion, when ordering a drink. Generally aperitivo will cost about 5 to 8 euro per drink (also, only in my experience). Aperitivo will usually consist of breads, cured meats, or really any snack that the restaurant feels like offering. Many Italians tend to eat aperitivo as a kind of “pre-dinner” to get the metabolism back and running before the actual dinner which is often quite late.
This past week, I experienced hands down the BEST aperitivo I have yet to have in Italy. This particular aperitivo was at Degusteria 25 Doc & Dop between Piazza Roma and Piazza del Popolo. Between 8 of us, we split up into 3 tables (the restaurant is very small) and ordered 2 bottles of white wine. The first course of aperitivo consisted of olivas de all’ascolana (a signature dish in Ascoli Piceno) and crema fritta (fried cream). Unfortunately, my stomach acted faster than my camera and I ate my portion before I could take a picture of it. The olivas de all’ascolana were the best that I have had yet, freshly fried and stuffed with wonderful meat. The second course consisted of 3 small dishes, a pasta salad with fresh veggies, black rice and red onions, and a cold pea soup. The third course, and my most favorite, was a plate of cured meats, salami to be more specific. Cured meat is something I always grew up with at my home before dinner (the antipasto). This selection of salami was a new monster. Some were almost soft in flavor and the saltiness was not over powering. For the final portion of aperitivo we had hot cheese fondue with small chunks of crusty bread. Every single portion of this aperitivo was wonderfully put together and each small meal complimented the next. With an end price of only 7,50 euro each, I’d say it was a steal! The beauty of aperitivo is the simple necessity of having a bite to eat to enjoy with every sip of wine. Doc & Dop is definitely a place I will be returning in my 5 short weeks left in Ascoli Piceno.