I love a good Italian wedding. There’s something so infectious and joyous about culture mixed with occasion. Not to mention a few good tipples here and there.
If you’re planning an Italian style wedding, or perhaps you’ve been invited to one, you can expect to have more than beer and wine on the menu.
I asked Alana Sabbadini, owner of new Melbourne hangout – Bar Carlo – to give me the lowdown on what to expect.
Bar Carlo is a quintessential Melbourne bar (by that I mean, it’s in a laneway) but it’s also made a fervent attempt to recreate the “humble authenticity” of an Italian bar.
When it comes to Italian liquor, they know their stuff.
“By striving to bring the humble authenticity of Italian bars to Melbourne, we have found purchase in the simplicity that is at the heart of Italian warmth and hospitality,” Alana says.
“This is reflected with our wonderful selection of Italian aperitivi and digestivi sourced from around the country and the world.”
By the way, aperitivi translates to ‘appetizers’ – so you drink them before the main meal.
And digestivi? Yup, that’s post-main course when you need a little help digesting your food.
So what type of tipple can we expect at an Italian wedding?
“The first one would have to be Prosecco, it’s the perfect welcome drink, refreshing and bubbly, it’s a lovely way to start off the evening.”
From there, the wedding should roll into something a bit more relaxing, says Alana – a self-confessed spritz-connoisseur.
“Spritzes are just so fun and put everyone in a really good mood.”
The team at Bar Carlo love their spritzes so much they ventured to a town in northern Italy called Bassano del Grappa to find an elusive aperitivo named Leone.
“We went all the way to the small town where Leone is made and convinced the owners to let us bring it back to Melbourne as it is our favourite and now we are the only stockist in Australia with this delicious and refreshing aperitif.”
Alana says the Leone Spritz is a stand-out in a world full of spritzes. She let me in on her preferred method for making the perfect sip:
“There are many different versions of Spritz on the market, but my favourite and the one that is exclusive to Bar Carlo is our very own Leone Spritz.
“It’s 60ml Leone, 90ml Prosecco and 10ml soda water, garnished with a slice of orange and a green olive. Bellissimo!”
Of course, if you can’t pry a bottle of Leone out of the hands of Bar Carlo, you can always try the more common Aperol Spritz.
Aperol has a bitter orange flavour, and you can sub it in for Leone in Alana’s recipe.
Alana tells me that Italian weddings are “very focused on family”.
“The bond between the couple and also between the couple and their families is a beautiful thing to see and cherish.
“Italian weddings are always lots of fun. After recently getting married myself I can safely say that the amount of food provided at Italian weddings is pretty generous – no one will go home hungry.”
But what about as the night draws to a close? What should we be drinking after we’ve filled up on all that delicious food?
There’s only one choice, Alana says.
“Grappa is great to help everyone relax and the perfect night cap to finish the festivities for the night.”
Sounds good to me.
About Bar Carlo: At Bar Carlo, we continue a 50-year family tradition of innovation started by pioneer Carlo Sabbadini. Bar Carlo serves simple, hand-prepared Italian food and cicchetti, which can be enjoyed all day. Our menu is constantly rotating to ensure the freshest ingredients, served in the same no fuss manor that Carlo became known for.
About the author Mr Houndstooth: I am a happily married man. I enjoy a fine whisky, a new suit and swashbuckling around town with my beautiful bride. Looking back on my wedding day always makes me smile, even though it began to rain just as I said ‘I do’.