festivals and events
raves and reviews
the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
Say ciao to your new favorite summertime cocktail. Aperol, an orange-based liqueur made by Gruppo Campari, is the best-selling spirit in Italy and one of the fastest-growing in the world. It’s fruitier and less bitter than Campari, and is low in alcohol, which makes Aperol a fantastic aperitivo before a meal.
Showcasing this herbal, citrusy spirit, the Aperol Spritz cocktail caught on like wildfire in Italy and quickly became the country’s most popular mixed drink — first created in the Veneto region, where Prosecco is made. Light, refreshing and eye-catching, the Spritz is a perfect beverage for warm weather sipping. After just one taste of this stunning sparkler, I was head over heels in amore.
Fill a wine glass or rocks glass with ice. Pour in Prosecco and Aperol, then top with a splash of soda. Garnish with orange slice (squeeze into drink and stir before sipping).
Taste the sunset, smile, repeat. Salute!
Thursday night, meatballs reigned supreme at the fourth annual NYC Wine & Food Festival kickoff event, Meatball Madness. Food Network’s Italian beauty Giada De Laurentiis played host to dozens of the city’s best chefs who rolled out their version of the perfect bite.
Nearly 1,000 meatball maniacs flooded into SoHo’s 82 Mercer to sample saucy spheres and sliders made from blends of beef, pork, veal, rabbit, goat, seitan and lobster. Styles ranged from traditional Italian polpette with tomato gravy (Donatella Arpaia’s braised veal version was delizioso) to exotic Thai-inspired goat meatballs with boiled peanuts, tatsoi and panang curry from Kin Shop’s Harold Dieterle. Giada got sweet and smoky with mozzarella, fig and honey, Maialino’s Nick Anderer dished out rabbit smothered in creamy pecorino ‘whiz’ over rapini, and Osteria Morini chef Michael White’s melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto and mortadella version was another standout.
Judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Dana Cowin and Lee Anne Wong crowned The Little Owl’s Joey Campanaro the night’s big winner for his grandma’s gravy meatball slider with pickled fennel. The crowd also casted their votes and The Meatball Shop’s Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow snagged the coveted People’s Choice Award for their steak ‘n’ bacon cheddar balls with mushroom gravy on a buttermilk biscuit.
Classic Campari cocktails, a selection of vino and sparkling San Pellegrino refreshed partygoers, while A Voce provided sweet relief with scrumptious chocolate cannoli over roasted cherries. Meatball Madness certainly started off the Festival in style and everyone seemed to have a ball—while devouring dozens!
The Manhattan Cocktail Classic is NYC’s multi-day event celebrating the history, the culture and the craft of the cocktail. On Friday, I attended the grand Opening Night Gala to kick off the five days of alcohol-fueled fun. The entire New York Public Library was filled with the country’s top mixologists shaking up some seriously creative cocktails for thousands of thirsty patrons (including many who dressed the part in Gatsby-inspired attire). This was an epic affair—complete with brass bands, dancing burlesque girls and stations upon stations of themed cocktail madness.
Campari was celebrating their 150th anniversary and even Mario Batali was hanging at the Campari cart, sipping one of their delicious Negroni cocktails. The Gala was one of the coolest events I’ve ever been to, but one thing is for sure—next year, I am going all-out with my costume, my LBD was too tame for this soiree!