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Wine And Dine Like The Italians Do, Aperitivo Style, In The Heart Of Poblacion

If you’ve spent some time in Italy, you’ve likely experienced the perfect Italian aperitivo. And if you haven’t, why not try it for yourself this Thursday, August 16, for what’s sure to be an enjoyable evening of Italian wine and food, plus music and good company, held in a cozy apartment in Poblacion—open for all.


Donatello Montrone, co-founder, Vinoom Selection


What is an aperitivo?

One may think aperitivo means cocktail hour, that pre-dinner stop for a drink or two with some pica-pica, before moving on to the main evening meal. But aperitivo is much more than that, as it gives us a taste of the Italian way of life.



Fabio Urbisaglia of Vinoom Selection, the organizer of Aperitivo at The Apartment, gives us a basic primer on the Italian aperitivo. The simplest version may involve a drink paired with just olives and nuts. But it can get much more interesting, with places offering fresh pasta, cheeses, raw, grilled or sautéed vegetables, sandwiches, and so on. The food can even go beyond traditional Italian food, to include Asian fare as well.


An antipasti spread


Pronounced “a-pear-e-teevo,” the term comes from the Latin word apertitiuvum or “opener.” In ancient times, the term was more therapeutic than social, with one of its earliest recorded versions in 500 BC with Greek physician Hippocrates’ recipe for vinum hippocraticum, a sweet wine with herbs. Into the Middle Ages, aperitivo was considered primarily medicinal, an alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite.


Crostini di pane


It was much later, though, when aperitivo shed its medical origins. Fabio gives us a history lesson: “The aperitivo concept probably started in Torino in 1786 when Antonio Benedetto Carpano created the vermouth liquor. It has also been reported that in the 1860’s, Gaspare Campari moved to Milan where he opened a café and served his homemade invention, the Campari liquor.” Fabio elaborates, “The new concept of aperitivo, an alcoholic drink paired with snacks, did not take off until the 1920’s in Milan. Milan is considered the Italian capital of the perfect aperitivo. Today, you can enjoy an aperitivo in almost any city or town in Italy. Whether you’re in Milan, Torino, Florence, or Rome, you’re sure to find many cafés, restaurants, and hotels with every kind of aperitivo.”


Apollonio wines and Aperol from Italy


Aperitivo comes to the Philippines

With aperitivo so prevalent in Italy, why not bring it to the Philippines? Fabio replies, “We realized how strong the drinking culture is (in the Philippines) and how Filipinos naturally hang out and gather around food and a couple of drinks. Which is why, since our business is wine, we wanted people to really get to know how Italians do it.”


Cheese, cold cuts, crostini, and frittata


Held regularly at Z Hostel in Poblacion, Aperitivo at The Apartment invites people to enjoy time together with friends, to meet new people, all around drinks and snacks. There is no cover charge, and all people need to pay for is their glass or bottle of wine, which comes with an all-you-can-eat buffet of traditional Italian specialties—antipasti like cold cuts and cheese, frittata, crostini di pane with different toppings, fresh pasta cooked on the spot, as well as heftier fare like porchetta, rigatone con ragu’ alla Bolognese, and polpette or meatballs. According to Fabio, the cooked food is based on traditional recipes, many from their own grandmothers, adapted using whatever products are available locally.


Porchetta or roasted pork belly


While the spread is generous, it’s not dinner, insists Fabio, although some people do tend to fill up on the food. He admits, “With a food choice like the one offered during our Aperitivo at The Apartment, people can literally dine. And if you think Filipinos are good eaters, you have never see Italians approaching food!” But rather than focusing on the food, Fabio suggests making the evening more about socializing, meeting new people, talking about your passions and interests with like-minded people, and simply relaxing and unwinding in a convivial setting. The food and drinks are not just meant to stimulate the appetite, but stimulate social interaction as well.


Fresh pasta cooked on the spot


While you can always enjoy food and wine at many different spots around the city, Fabio declares Aperitivo at The Apartment the only “real” Italian aperitivo in the city, supplemented by great music and the unique setting of a quaint apartment that’s cozy and enjoyable at the same time.


Founders of Vinoom Selection Donatello Montrone and Fabio Urbisaglia with Italian Ambassador Giorgio Guglielmino


The whole idea for Aperitivo at The Apartment is to bring a bit of Italy to the Philippines. Fabio relates, “The one thing that has never ever changed is that we Italians are very good when it comes to enjoying life. Our country, our food, our history make everything much easier.” The upcoming Aperitivo on August 16 is already the 9th such event to be held in Poblacion, proof indeed that Filipinos are embracing the Italian way of life—with all the Italian and food to enjoy!


The 9th Aperitivo at The Apartment happens this Thursday, August 16, 2018, starting 8 pm, at Z Hostel, 5660 Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati City, featuring DJs Micheal Berth (Latin music) and Coox with Daryl Ladioray (sax). Organized by Vinoom Selection, this event is in partnership with Metro Channel, Z Hostel, Nieta, Time, Galileo Enoteca Deli, and Apollonio Vini.


Photos courtesy of and Vinoom Selection on Facebook