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Convivial Italy

March 2013

By Claudia Franco, Milan

Italian socializing and leisure time have always been focused around food and drink; with the late-afternoon ritual of an aperitivo kicking off the unwinding after a day’s work. Surprisingly, though, a new Italian taste for quality craft beer is competing with Campari.

Northern Italy has become a hub for micro-brewing. Birreria BQ, in Milan’s Alzaia Naviglio Grande, produces delicious local brews and distributes them to trendy bars around town, like Isola della Birra, which also serves Piemonte-brewed Loverbeer.

The bible of the Milanese social life is 02, a free publication by Edizione Zero, that was developed as a partnership with the Vodafone project, Open. Open is a convergence of food, culture, art and technology. It focuses primarily on the culture of food in the digital era with meetings and conferences organized by Gianluca Biscalchin, food illustrator and author of the blog Cibiology. Open has also held contests for innovative Milanese apps. 

In Milan’s design district, new bistros are following a trend to specialize in one type of high-quality food, rather than a varied selection. Hambistro, in via Savona, solely offers specialty burgers and soups. Castelli Gourmet, offers over-the-top, gourmet paninis and cocktails.

The Milanese love to open their homes to friends, old and new; especially during the winter foggy days. Flavia Alman and Sabine Reiff, two local techno artists, founded the first Italian Handpanhouse. The curious project is dedicated to global handpan musicians, and was born and spread through social media networks. Created in Switzerland in 2001, handpans are a mélange between a harp and steel drum

Retail & Dining
Liquor, Beer & Wine
Entertainment & Gaming
Food & Drink
Art and Food Trend: Castelli Gallery/ Gourmet
Culture trendspotting: Navigli aperi-dinner
Cutting-edge Italian culture trend: Handpan House

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