Masquerade with a Spritz From Venice, Italy to New York and with an "Eyes Wide Shut" Stop on a Bright Moonlit Night in Miami, Florida


I wasn't to sure how to bring together all the stories you are about to read and at the same time introduce you to a fabulous and relatively new cocktail we discovered recently in Venice, Italy. In the end, however, I  linked them successfully and think you will enjoy the read.
Halloween, or All Saints Eve, is becoming a popular day for costume parties and events all over Italy.
While one of the main holidays in Italy is still All Saints Day on November 1st and All Souls Day of November 2nd, the custom of celebrating Halloween that started in Italy in the early 1990's, is starting to take hold in many Italian cities.When Halloween approaches anywhere, some strange things start to happen.
While traveling to Venice, Italy recently, we saw many people walking the streets in masquerade.
Masks in all shapes, sizes and colors are sold everywhere and I'm sure most of the people we saw wearing masks were tourists simply having fun with what seems to come natural in Venice and especially this time of year with Halloween just around the corner. However you look at it, Sandy and I both found it added to the mystique of Venice and the almost 700 year history of masquerade in this Italian city seemingly floating on water.

A little bit about the history of masquerade.

The word masquerade is derived from a long line. English gets it from the French word mascarade and they got it from the Italian word mascarata. That is a variant of the word mascherata which is from Old Italian maschera meaning mask. So really it is a long line of derivations coming from the word mask.
'Masquerading' started in the thirteenth century, when Venice was as lively and crowded as it is today.
As a result many people, particularly the rich and famous but also courtesans, gigolos, and others who needed to conduct themselves with the utmost discretion and privacy and who required anonymity, started to wear masks to achieve this.
Consequently a new breed of professionals emerged who were able to make stunning masks for these clients and a whole new industry was born.
But the secrecy that the masks provided also led to an inevitable increase in crime and a general decline in morals.
In the fourteenth century it became necessary to introduce decrees forbidding the everyday wearing of masks, and masquerading was restricted to special carnivals and festivals.
These spectacular happenings draw visitors from all over the world with the main Venetian event, The Carnavale, taking place in February each year.


I think you get the picture. .
No sooner do Sandy and I get home from our trip to friend Mark emails me pics of an appropriately themed "Eyes Wide Shut" 'Dark Dinner' he attended in Miami,  Florida.  A coincidence? Yes, because he simply wanted to share his unique story about a dinner that was being served where all the diners were in masquerade and wearing masks so the food could not be seen...and no because it's simply the time of year where events like these proliferate the number one social occasion of the festivities.

Sandy and I were so inspired, we decided to have a few of our friends come over for what we termed a Venetian themed dinner with the masks and beautiful fans we had bought in Venice.
Mystery woman & Bert
Spritz's at the Spitz's
Our guests would be greeted with a "Spritz"...the number one selling & relatively new  fun drink/cocktail served all over Venice and then go on to a few of my 'signature' dishes, whose recipes have been entered into this blog over the last 3 years since I started writing.
These are the Famous BetsaPasta Caesar Salad alla Bosso, Crispy Eggplant Parmesan and Linguine alla Marinara. All these dishes were complimented with dishes brought by our guests such as
 Helen's Famous 'Meat-a-Balls' and Sharon's World Famous Incredibly Light and Rich Sabra Laced Chocolate Mousse with Fresh Heavy Whipped Cream.
Here's a little history and the recipe for a cocktail relatively unknown in the USA...The Spritz

Ingredients for 1 serving:
Ice Cubes (approximately 3 or 4 ice cubes)
2 to 3 ounces Prosecco or any white sparkling wine
1 1/2 ounces Aperol
Splash of soda water, sparkling water, mineral water, or Club Soda
Orange wedge or slice

Fill a glass (highball glass or white wine glass) 1/4 full with ice cubes (you want to chill the drink and not water it down). Pour in the Prosecco and then top with Aperol. Add the soda water. Stir gently until mixed.
Garnish with an orange slice (either add slice of orange, twisting to release some juice and placing in the glass or simply use orange slice as garnish)

Italian translation:
Ecco un po 'di storia e la ricetta per un cocktail relativamente sconosciuto in USA ... Il Spritzer

Ingredienti per 1 porzione:
Cubetti di ghiaccio (circa 3 o 4 cubetti di ghiaccio)
2-3 ounces Prosecco o vino bianco frizzante
Di 1 1/2 oz Aperol
Spruzzata di acqua gassata, acqua frizzante, acqua minerale, o Club Soda
Cuneo arancione o slice

Riempire un bicchiere (tumbler o bicchiere di vino bianco) 1/4 pieno di cubetti di ghiaccio (volete rilassarvi la bevanda e non l'acqua verso il basso). Versare il Prosecco e poi in alto con Aperol. Aggiungere l'acqua di soda. Mescolare delicatamente fino a mista.

Guarnire con una fettina d'arancia (o aggiungere fetta di arancio, torsione di rilasciare qualche succo e l'immissione in vetro o semplicemente utilizzare fetta d'arancia come guarnizione)

                                                                 Mangia Baby!


As always, love to hear comments...

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