Friday, 13 July 2012

Back to Italy

Well it’s summer again in Europe, and Cara and I have been looking forward to getting out of the cold, wet weather that we’ve been experiencing in London and go back to one of our favourite countries in Europe for some sunshine and amazing food... Thats right, we were returning to Italy. Our first trip to Italy was very special. We travelled to Rome and had an amazing few days. This time round we made a trip to one of Europes fashion capitals, Milan.  Being a city of style and fashion, it was fair to assume that their bar and cocktail culture would follow the same trend. So we were both excited to explore another new city, try some new cocktails and of course eat the amazing Italian food.

By far the main attraction in Milan is the “Duomo di Milano”, which translates to the Cathedral of Milan. This gothic and impressive structure began construction in 1386. It was finally complete in 1965. Looking at the fine detail in the cathedrals exterior, we could understand why it took them so long to complete. It is the forth-largest cathedral in Europe, and it’s the largest in Italy. So Cara and I decided to find a perfect spot to have some of our much-loved antipasti and take in the grandeur of the Duomo, before continuing our exploration of Milan.

A trip to Milan is not complete without experiencing the cities high-end fashion scene. As we walked the streets, passing all the big name featured stores; we decided to make another stop. This time at Dolce & Gabbana, and more importantly the D&G Martini bar. This fashion icon is the brain child of 2 Italian fashion designers, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. They came together in 1982 to launch one of the most sort after brands in Italy and the world. The D&G Martini bar has been designed to convey the same ideals of the high-end fashion label, which has made the brand so successful today. It’s relaxing, intimate and glamorous setting, gives shoppers the perfect place to unwind after a ‘hard’ days shopping. I wanted to order a cocktail from their menu that screamed “Italy”. I chose a cocktail called “Milano”. Not the most original name in the world, but one that was fitting. It was a martini that consisted of equal parts Campari (another great Italian spirit), Gin and Aperol. It was garnished with slice of orange, which was coated in saffron. This cocktail was exactly what I expected. Crisp clean, with a (what I like to call) razor sharp finish. It is certainly not a cocktail for everyone. Campari can be a tough spirit to drink. But as I looked around the room, I couldn’t help but notice that most of the other patrons were drinking the famous fiery red spirit. Only in Italy would you find so many people drinking Campari at the same time. Aside from the Campari, the gin and the Aperol added to its dry crispness. The Aperol gave the cocktail a refreshing apricot after taste. The garnish was a nice touch too. A saffron coated orange slice was something original. It gave the drink an acidity, which complemented the spirits nicely.

As we sat and enjoyed our drinks, we noticed every customer that walked into D&G’s Martini bar all came carrying a number of shopping bags from the various well known fashion label stores in the nearby area. Being typical Aussies, dressed in flip-flops and me in my Australian soccer top, we suddenly felt a little out of place. Not to worry though, the day was young and we still had lots to see in Milan.

D&G’s “Martini Bar”
The Milano:
In the cocktail shaker
30ml Campari
30ml Gin
30ml Aperol
Stir and strain into a Martini Glass
Garnish with a slice of Orange coated
in Saffron.

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