The Weasel: Mission to Milan

What is the most delightful Italian word? For my money, there is one that has the edge on pomodoro, vaporetto, risotto, Lamborghini, parmigiano, and even the overplayed amore. What heart does not leap at the mention of aperitivo? The word is like a smile. In Italy, the early evening aperitivo is more than just a drink. In the humblest of bars, you normally get nuts, crisps, a bit of cheese or mortadella with your birra, grappa or negroni. In posh joints, you get a lavish spread that those untutored in the ways of Italian restraint could easily treat as dinner rather than a prefatory morsel. It is this admirable tradition, especially strong in Milan, that the Italian beer maker Peroni is attempting to introduce to the barbarian north.