Aperitivo Hour: Best Food Pairings with Aperol Spritz
Finding the right food to pair with your Aperol Spritz is an essential part of the aperitivo tradition. Luckily, we’re here to help you craft the perfect spread of delicious nibbles and authentic Italian snacks to enjoy with friends over delicious cocktails.
Read on to find out more about aperitivo culture in Italy and discover classic food pairings you can serve with your Aperol Spritz at home.
What is Aperitivo Italiano?
In little bars across Northern Italy, friends and family will often get together in the early evenings to enjoy aperitivo. You might see them sat along the Venetian canals with an Aperol Spritz in hand or in the piazzas of Milan, sharing a selection of small plates.
This lively tradition is just as much about the drinks and small plates as it is about the atmosphere and company. So, how can you capture the spirit of Italian aperitivo at home in the UK? With a perfectly poured Aperol Spritz and the right food pairing, of course!
What food goes with Aperol Spritz?
Cicchetti is one of the most popular and authentic food pairings with Aperol Spritz in Italy. The term ‘cicchetti’ refers to the different types of small plates served alongside your afternoon drinks in Venice.
If you order an Aperol Spritz in a traditional bacaro (wine bar), you’ll often be served a small bite to eat alongside your drink. It could be a polpette, crostini or a specialty of the bar. That little snack is the cicchetti.
Check out our guide to learn more about aperitivo traditions in Venice.
Our favourite Aperol Spritz snacks
Ready to make your own cicchetti at home? Here are some of our favourite small plates, snacks and nibbles to pair with your Aperol Spritz.
Crostini are crispy little slices of bread with just about any topping you can imagine. We’re partial to tapenade, but bars in Venice will stack them with anything from cured meats to soft cheeses or seasonal vegetables.
Try Crosta & Mollica’s twice-baked Chilli Crostini to add an extra hint of heat.
Take inspiration from northern Italy with a bread-basket full of Rosemary Linguette. This floral twist on thin and crispy flatbreads are the perfect addition to any antipasti platter.
Snap, share and top with your favourite tapenades, conserves or cream cheeses for a delicious pre-dinner snack.
Polpette are miniature meatballs. Smaller than their spaghetti-topping counterparts, they’re served on their own with a toothpick for simple snacking. They’re easy to make and customise at home if you’re so inspired.
Arancini take their name from their resemblance to little oranges (arancine), making them the perfect food to pair with an Aperol Spritz. Arancini originated in Sicily, but they’re now enjoyed all over Italy – and the world!
They’re made of risotto that’s been formed into a little ball then coated in breadcrumbs and fried. You can fill them with meat, vegetables, or even Nutella for a sweet treat. Experiment to find your favourite combo.
Light and crispy, these Tarallini biscuits are often served with Aperol Spritz in the southern Italian regions. So, why not transform your kitchen into your very own trattoria and do the same?
Your guests can feel like they are enjoying aperitivo in the heart of Puglia as they sip their Aperol Spritz and snack on handcrafted Fennel Seed Tarallini. Delizioso!
Like the finger sandwich’s continental cousin, tramezzini are small, triangular sandwiches made of soft white bread with the crusts cut off. They can be filled with almost anything you choose – go classic with Prosciutto or mix it up with summery grilled vegetables and homemade mayonnaise.
Originating from Turin, Classic Torinesi are an aperitivo staple. Made from a handful of ingredients, each breadstick is stretched by hand so that no two Torinesi are ever the same.
You can eat them as they are for a fuss-free, yet moreish Aperol Spritz snack.
While it might not be as traditional as cicchetti, a beautifully-presented charcuterie sharing board is an easy way to impress your guests.
Get creative with the layout by creating rosettes of prosciutto and floral-inspired figs. Then fill in the gaps with a selection of authentic Italian crackers, such as Black Peppercorn Bolli and Olive & Rosemary Ovali.
Visit our recipes hub to find out how to make the perfect Aperol Spritz for your friends and get ideas for hosting your very own aperitivo hour