Friday, July 28, 2017

Hello ‘Aperitivo’ in Parma, Italy

One of the special things about Italy that make me love about the country is the tradition of aperitivo, which is by the way practised mostly in the northern part of Italy.

Apertivo hour Gran Caffe Cavour in Parma, Italy

My aperitivo at Caffe Cavour in Parma.

Gran Caffe Cavour in Parma, Italy

I have a few reasons why I love this Italian happy hour and I’ll tell you why.

When I was in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy last year, where I stayed in a fabulous B&B country mansion set on a hill with a fantastic view in a small village just outside Bologna, I managed to visit nearby cities such as Modena and Parma. Just their names are enough to make foodies salivate, haha.

In Parma, I planned to eat and have dinner but it did not turn out the way I had in mind.

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Shopping street Parma Italy

Early evening in Parma on the shopping street near Gran Caffe Cavour....drizzles, what was left of the rain.

Late in the afternoon it began raining in the city. If there is anything a city visitor — tourist, the traveller would hate to happen, that would have to be bad weather. Rain. Later into the early evening, the rain turned to drizzles which were much better. At least I can walk the streets.

My plan was to have dinner here in Parma and I had a few restaurants in mind and I have even visited them, to check out the ambience which is important to me. However, I was not that very hungry that evening and I was not in the mood to sit in a busy traditional Italian restaurant on my own surrounded by families and couples. Most of the times I do not really mind at all as I have eaten on my own a gazillion time, even fine dining style. Perhaps it had something to do with the gloomy weather and maybe because most of the restaurants I visited had a dim-lights romantic setting. Not really very ideal for a solo dinner eater, haha.

Earlier during the afternoon though, I passed by this elegant bar café near the shopping streets that has a lovely terrace — Gran Caffe Cavour. The bar café reminds me of the posh traditional cafes with glass chandeliers hanging in Milan. So I went back to the bar café and when I saw it again, I just knew this is the place where I will spend the rest of the evening in Parma before going back to Bologna.

Gran Caffe Cavour in Parma, Italy
Aperitivo Gran Caffe Cavour in Parma, Italy

Aperitivo - Aperol Spritz drink, some peanuts and snacks of warm and cold sandwiches and toasts with Parma ham, salami, cheeses and mortadella. 

I took a seat on the terrace and quickly a smiling waiter in formal white shirt with a black bow tie came to ask for my order. I already knew what I want, an aperitivo, so I ordered an Aperol Spritz, which is a popular and a simple cocktail concoction in Italy. And I know that the Aperol drink will come with small munching of foods which is exactly what I wanted for the evening.

The aperitivo I can say is truly my way of eating. Because you get tiny bits of different stuff. Just perfect for someone like me who prefers not to eat a lot of the same food but with more variety =). This is also the same reason why I love the wonderful and mouth-watering tapas in Spain. But in Italy, you have food bites already billed to your aperitivo drink. You do not have to pay extra. Great Italian invention!

Outdoor terrace Gran Caffe Cavour in Parma, Italy
Aperitivo snacks Gran Caffe Cavour in Parma, Italy

The sandwiches snacks came in both hot and cold varieties. This is already a lot for me, hence my aperitivo becoming my dinner.

Aperitivo Gran Caffe Cavour in Parma, Italy
Aperitivo Gran Caffe Cavour in Parma, Italy

I noticed a number of locals dropping by for an aperitivo and taking the time to read a book or a magazine. I love this kind of slow and enjoying the moment lifestyle. My kind of thing.

At Gran Caffe Cavour, the aperitivo bites were served to me on a plate already. In other bar cafes in Italy, you will have the option to go to the buffet table to take your own pick. I remember when Blondine and I were in Milan having an aperitivo hour in our hotel at the Missori Cafe, we managed to take quite a number of delicious bites, we felt so greedy after and worried if the waiter will scold us.

Another notable thing is that aperitivo is designed to be casual and enjoyed on the outdoor terrace. I guess very typically Europe I should say, except that your drinks, for its price, already come with food. Well, just for the better, huh?

So dinner, please take a back seat.... and hello there aperitivo =)

Here are the pictures of the interior of the bar cafe, which was very nice and elegant as well:

Gran Caffe Cavour in Parma, Italy

Being greeted here with a lovely and welcoming smile of the waiter.

Ceiling Gran Caffe Cavour in Parma, Italy

A very interesting ceiling in one of the rooms of the bar cafe.

Gran Caffe Cavour in Parma, Italy
Gran Caffe Cavour in Parma, Italy

The interior of the cafe is designed in traditional Italian style with wood panels on the counter, cabinets and walls, and the outdoor area looks very nice and inviting.

Gran Caffe Cavour in Parma, Italy

Travel Period: May 2016
Destination: Parma (Emilia-Romagna), Italy

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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