9 June 2016

Spritz Suppers with Forza Win, AKA I love Aperol

It's only since I've moved to London that I've discovered the Aperol Spritz. But when I discovered it, I fell truly, madly, deeply. Loud and delicious, it's a drink close to my heart, and one that I associate with my favourite season - summer.

The great thing about the Aperol Terrazza (which is located on the terrace of Bird of Smithfield until the end of August) is that alongside the drinks offerings, it also holds weekly masterclasses, which you can sign up for here.

And that's what I did! I signed up to every single thing, and hoped for the best. Then last week, I was told that I'd won a place with a plus one for "Spritz Suppers with Forza Win". Obviously, I accepted my place. A voila, come last Tuesday, I made the trek from South-West to the city, ready for an Aperol aperitif.

Because of the shocking weather, the masterclass unfortunately wasn't held on the terrace, as per advertised. It would have been waaaaay too cold.

Instead, we were directed to the second floor private dining room. Which was dry, warm and suitably decked out in the Aperol-hue: orange.

Aperol bottles everywhere, bartenders in orange braces, and an orange GIF machine, which we made great use of.

We were handed generously sized Aperol Spritzes - of course - and got comfortable before things got started. 

Actually, we were handed *two* Aperol Spritzes. Two each. I thought they would be stingy on the drink, but they were pouring it like it was going out of style (the irony is, it's a very fashionable drink at the moment). I approved.

And then the fun started.

We were told how to make the cocktail of the hour(s) - first, load the glass up with lots of ice, then add a generous pour of Aperol, two parts prosecco and top up with soda water. Then, to garnish, a wedge of orange. Yum.

Then the quasi-bar was opened out to the floor for an Aperol Spritz making competition. Girls vs. boys, then the winning girl and winning boy would fight it out for a complimentary bottle of Aperol.

Understandably, things got rather competitive. 

Our host, Loris Conto, showing us how to make the perfect spritz

My friend and plus one, Zoe, volunteered (as tribute) and managed to win the first round...

Went against the winning guy in the second round...

And bloody won the bottle of Aperol! Go, girl. Hilariously, she'd never tried an Aperol Spritz before the event, and was inevitably won over during the course of the evening.

When the room had recovered from the competition, the guys from Forza Win took over, presenting us with 3 classic small plates - Italian, obviously - to sample with our drinks (which kept on coming thanks to the lovely bartender Mattia).

The first dish they made was Panzanella - so simple, but so, so good. They got participants to mix together a blend of bread, fresh tomatoes, basil (the best basil I have ever tasted, so sweet) and onions soaked in a red vinegar. It was unreal.

The bread soaked up all the flavours and became soggy. This might sound a bit gross - after all, who would ever ask for soggy bread? - but it meant it'd absorbed all the flavours, which wasn't a bad thing at all.

When it came to serving, the elbows were out.

I'm not going to lie, we went back for seconds!

Next up was an Italian version of beans on toast - white beans in a light sauce, sprinkled with herbs, and served on fresh sourdough.

It wasn't my favourite dish, as sourdough is a really tough bread, and with the beans piled on top it was very messy. It also didn't have half as much flavour as the previous dish. It definitely soaked up some of the Aperol, though.

It was the final dish that set all our pulses racing (ooer...)

48 day rump steak, served medium rare.

Covered in a rich salsa verde.

Such simple, easy dishes, with a focus on fresh ingredients, full of flavour and colour. Nothing artificial, just good, real food. In the age of Deliciously Ella and the like, it was a welcome change. I loved it.

I'm not used to steak being *quite* so chewy, but it was great to sample. Sorry Forza Win, I just like my steak medium-well (sorrysorry).

After yet another Aperol, we decided it was probably time to make a move. The party didn't really show any signs of ending, however...

Which shows, I guess, that as long as the Aperol is flowing, the party doesn't need to end.

Even though this wasn't a blogging event, I am so glad I got the opportunity to attend as a guest and took my bulky camera along anyway (even though it did look a bit odd, as Aperol had a hired photographer to cover the event). If it means any readers will be inclined to check the Terrazza out, I'll be pleased. Because everyone should try and see if they can book onto the masterclasses at Bird. I had a blast, and so will you.

For more information on the Aperol Terrazza at Bird of Smithfield, click >> here <<.

Thanks to Aperol & Bird of Smithfield for having me :)

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