My first summer living in Milan, the entire city was shut down for August but I worked at a financial newswire which never closed its doors. Those were the days when Italy’s Central Bank still mattered and as always, most financial crises began in August. At times, being in the office was almost a relief from the hot, empty streets of the city. When I did have to venture out, I looked forward to the one light on the street, a bar called Le Trottoir. I lived in the Corso Garibaldi area and Le Trottoir was the only game in town. It was the closest thing to a hippy bar that I could find in my chic Milan neighborhood and it was refreshing. They served popcorn, bad wine, and had loud music every night until dawn. When everyone’s tapparelle or sun blinds were down, it was a pleasure to slip into that bar and order whatever they had on the menu,
What do people drink on Ferragosto you might wonder? In my experience, a bit of everything but it is slightly more celebratory than your average holiday so some sparkling wine might be involved or a good mixed drink like a Negroni Sbagliato.
I can’t drink gin it makes me mean like an angry cat so an ex-boyfriend introduced me to a Negroni Sbagliato years ago in Milan which uses sparkling wine rather than gin and I was hooked. I know I am not alone and that it has definitely made its’ way in the United States.
Today we are also celebrating another holiday, Julia Child’s birthday. She is and was such a part of our lives. Her cookbook stares out at me from my shelf every day calling out for love as I slink past it to make simple fare. Sometimes though, I read it and imagine making what she would be making on any given night. As all readers of my blog know, like Julia, despite my love for Italy, I was and always will remain a devoted francophile as well.