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In Italy we eat well, but we also drink well. Each place has its traditional product. The aperitif tradition, for example, is all Italian and has its roots in Veneto. As many of you might know, Spritz originates from bacari of Venice. In Bassano del Grappa, however, there is a special aperitif, a Bassano style blend to drink together with friends at the bar, before dinner. Obviously, we are talking about “Mezzo e Mezzo” that, if you have already been to Bassano you have probably already learned to know and appreciate. Instead, if you have never heard about it, and not even tried it, keep on reading to find out what it is.
The history of Mezzo e Mezzo, also known as “mezo” by people who live in Bassano, is strongly connected to the history of grappa, especially to Nardini’s distillery and the bar that is located exactly at the beginning of the Ponte Vecchio.
In fact, right at aperitif time, “La Grapperia Nardini al Ponte”, known in Bassano as “Nardini Basso” (as opposed to the cocktail bar in front of Porta delle Grazie, that is Nardini Alto) becomes crowded of people: who is there to drink, who to enjoy the landscape, who to do both. It is exactly here that Nardini’s distillery, the most ancient of Italy, was founded in 1779 by Bortolo Nardini. Still today, with its furniture, the balcony and the copper jar, it offers to the visitors a unique experience.
Who knows if also Ernest Hemingway, who stopped for some time here in Bassano during The First World War, gourmet and very good drinker, might has tasted Nardini spirits. We like imagining that the view from Ponte Vecchio has inspired him to write some pages. Surely he kept Bassano in his heart, actually in his blood, as himself writes.
Unfortunately, he could not try “Mezzo e Mezzo”, that was born in 1970 thanks to a client who decided to mix two ingredients together: Rabarbaro Nardini and Rosso Nardini, in equal quantity: precisely, mezzo e mezzo (half and half). The addiction of a bit of seltz is admitted. There is no wine or ice, but only a little lemon peels. In addition, it seems there is a further “secret” ingredient; however, to find it out you should come to Bassano and convince the Grapperia’s innkeepers to reveal it to you!
Book your journey to discover Bassano and its aperitifs!
Bassano’s aperitif is untouchable: a real rite that repeats for ages and that since always marks meetings between locals, to that no visitor should escape if he wants to breath the authentic atmosphere of Bassano! As for Hemingway, find out the feeling of seeing the Monte Grappa, the Valsugana and the Altopiano dei 7 Comuni from Brenta’s banks. Possibly with a glass of “Mezzo e Mezzo” in your hands!