An Italian heart beats in the heart of London
Summer is coming, the days are longer and the mood generally lifts after the grey winter days, it does for me at least. Aperitivo is always a pleasant way to spend an early evening whether weekend or mid week. Moreover, especially this year ( having done much less traveling than before), I find myself longing for anything Italian that can somehow bring a little bit of ‘home’ feel to my London days.
A couple of weeks ago an evening at the elegant Baglioni London hotel offered just the opportunity to feel ‘italian’ without flying anywhere. I attended an informal and really fun cocktails masterclass held at the hotel’s Italian restaurant Brunello. I had already visited the location for previous events, and it is a beautiful, smart Italian bolt hole right opposite Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens; I have not seen the rooms, but I am sure they are just as attractive as the reception area and restaurant as well as the bar itself, which occupies a large central space on the ground floor.
I was part of a small group of people gathered around the bar’s counter, where the head barman showed us how to make two of his signature cocktails, a twist on the classic Negroni and an interesting mushrooms (yes, porcini actually) based concoction called The Prescription. We did not just sit and watch while chatting and networking, we took turns to take our place behind the bar and recreate those truly good drinks. I attempted the Caribbean Negroni, where the twist was represented by the addition of a coffee infused liqueur and coffee beans as garnish – of course, being a Negroni fan regardless, I loved this variation and found it different without steering too much away from the classic. And, despite being a tad nervous, I really had fun trying my hands at making ‘serious’ cocktails.
Contemporary chic and glamorous, Baglioni Hotel offers the ultimate Italian experience in the heart of London
While we also enjoyed a straight, refreshing glass of Ferrari spumante, we then nibbled on some great bites of italian excellencies, from cheese and polenta morsels, mini calzone pizza, olives and cold cuts and a really special risotto alla milanese, which I wolfed down with gusto, risotto always being a treat for me.
The icing on the cake during such a great evening was that one of the other guests was the author of one of my favourite non fiction books, Taste. Yet I chatted to her (she’s super charming) the entire evening and only realised who she was when I looked at her business card once I got home. #massivefail
For anyone in the area in need of a relaxed but a little indulgent tipple, I would definitely recommend dropping by the Baglioni bar, and why not, stay for a risotto at the Brunello restaurant. And it might be good trying your luck with the competition currently running, where people just need to tag an Italian food photo with #buonappetito and #baglionihotels for a chance to win a free dinner+stay! It can also be done on Instagram. Sounds easy enough to me and worth a shot!
I was a guest of Baglioni hotels on this occasion, I was not asked to write this post. Opinions are my own.