Italians and Wine Culture

Italians and Wine Culture

Italians drink wine as an aperitif, with the meal and after the meal they finish off with a hair-raising distilled wine called grapa. Chianti is probably the best known Italian wine, but the quality varies, so look for the sign of the black cockerel on the label, and settle for reliable makes, like Frescobaldi, Melini and Ricasol. Other good red wines (rossi) are Barolo, Valpolicella, and a full-bodied wine from Scily called Corvo.

Connoisseurs say that Brunello de Montalcino is the best Italian red wine. Some of the best white wines are Orvieto, Frascati, and Soave and, if you like a sweet, light sparkling wine, Asti Spumante is very refreshing. Martini and Cinzano are famous Italian aperitifs, but for a change try Punt e Mes, or Campari. Strega is an interesting liqueur and Sambuca (tastes of licorice). In general, it is safer to order wine by the bottle or half-bottle rather than the carafe. Rome is ful of fascinating drinking places. Perhaps the best known is the Cafe de Paris, of La Doce Vita fame, on the famous via Veneto.

The Cafe Greco (via Condoti 86) was a favorite haunt of Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde and Buffalo Bill. Baretto, on the same street, is one of the places to be seen having your before-dinner drinks – if you can get in. Bar Zodiaco (viale Parco Bellini, 90), the lovely Monte Mario near Observatory, and the Bar Tre Scalini has a lovely terrace in one of Rome’s most beautiful squares, Piazza Navona. This is a great place for ice cream too.

Things to Do in Montevideo, Uruguay

Things to Do in Montevideo, Uruguay

Shopping

Special purchases include suede jackets, amethyst jewellery and paintings. The Tristan Narvaja Market is famous for its antiques and there are many antique shops in the Old Town.

Shopping Hours: Monday-Friday 09:00-12:00 and 14:00-19:00; Saturday 09:00-12:30

Nightlife

Theatre, ballet and symphonic concerts are staged in Montevideo from March to January. Tango is nearly as popular as in Argentina. There are discos in downtown Montevideo and coastal suburbs such as Pocitos and Carrasco. There are several dinner-dance places in Montevideo. Large Montevideo hotels have good bars. When there is music for dancing, the price of drinks increases quite considerably. There are also several casinos.

Afternoon Snacks in Amsterdam

Afternoon Snacks in Amsterdam

Around four hours after lunch, you’ll be ready for the favorite afternoon snack of the Amsterdammers—a raw herring, eaten with a toothpick, from the counter of an open-air stand! While other European cities specialize in hot sausage stands, scattered around town, Amsterdam offers herring stands instead—and after eating your first raw Dutch herring, covered with chopped onions, you’ll understand why. I don’t care how many other species of herring you’ve had—marinated, creamed, pickled, salted—there’s nothing so good as a raw Dutch herring at the famous open air herring stands of Amsterdam.

There are, quite literally, at least a score of herring stands in the central part of Amsterdam, never far from where you may be (ask a resident to point one out). If you’re lucky, you’ll arrive at the stand while a true Dutchman is imbibing the succulent fish. Notice how he grabs it daintily by the tail, holds it high above his mouth, and then devours from the bottom up. For you, the owner of the stand will cut the skinned and gutted fish into four pieces, give you a wooden pick with which to pick the pieces up, and a bowl of diced onions into which to dip the fish.

The best time for herring is in late April and May, when the first catch of “nieuwe haring” comes in. The quality remains high throughout the end of September, but begins to disappear as the winter months set in. Whatever your normal attitude is towards herring, don’t miss an opportunity to taste the Dutch variety—it’s incomparable, a major surprise of amazing Amsterdam.