Italian American Club Member-Hosted Aperitivo Events

Melissa D’Onofrio

On Oct. 19, 2023, seven couples generously opened their homes to host our club’s twice-yearly aperitivo parties. These popular gatherings fill quickly and this year’s attendance broke all previous records, with 85 of our members participating! An Italian aperitivo is a bit like our American happy hour, but with abundant appetizers. They are also traditionally more calm and intimate than the American version. Aperitivo gatherings can be traced back in history to the late 1700s, and are an Italian ritual that has continually increased in popularity over the centuries. Today in Italy, when ordering drinks at an aperitivo, complimentary food is always provided. The word “aperitivo,” derived from Latin “aperire,” means “to open,” and in this case, “to open or awaken the appetite” before dinner. Leave it to the Italians to come up with a way to enjoy food as a means to enjoy even more food!

The Italian American Club’s version of the aperitivo is to have members host small groups in their homes, with participants bringing appetizers to share. The more intimate nature of these events allows club members to do what the Italians have done so well for centuries … slow down, take a break from the regular routine, and spend quality time with friends while enjoying delicious food and drinks. Guests at all of our venues reported that they enjoyed the good food and drinks, but especially enjoyed getting to know each other better and making new friends.

Barb Pariseau felt as though she had stepped into an Italian cafe when she entered Krischelle and Scott Tennessen’s home. The patio was decorated with a full-sized backdrop of an Italian courtyard cafe scene! The Tennessens also crafted chef’s hats made from Italian flags, and festooned the area with miniature Italian flags and fresh flowers. Guests shared delicious Italian appetizers: caprese tomatoes, mozzarella and basil on picks; roasted mini peppers with garlic and olive oil; fried shrimp; and ham, salami, cheese, and olives on picks. The group enjoyed the beautiful weather at patio tables decorated in red, green, and white. While everyone enjoyed the drinks and the food, they shared stories of summer trips to exotic destinations, including Iceland, the British Isles, Spain, Portugal, Hawaii and, of course, Italy.

Bev Buck described a thoroughly enjoyable evening at Kay Skripka and Bob Marchese’s home, where Italian music filled the background and Italian “fun facts” were printed on cards available for guests to read at their leisure. Once everyone arrived, each person introduced themselves and shared some information about their background and interests, both inside and outside of PebbleCreek. After scrumptious appetizers, Bob asked those who had traveled to Italy to share highlights and recommendations for “must see” landmarks and destinations. A lively conversation followed, as guests delighted in sharing interesting stories about their memorable trips to Italy.

Many thanks to this year’s gracious hosts: Bruce and Donna Moffatt, Becky and David Sacco, Kay Skripka and Bob Marchese, Krischelle and Scott Tennessen, Shoray and Dale Wolfe, Bart and Mary Ventura, and Marilyn and Robert Zygmunt.

A special thanks to Mary Flynn and her social subcommittee members for their time and effort in organizing this and many other wonderful club events!