Select, the Venetian aperitif par excellence turns 100 – Italian Cuisine

The iconic bitter by the Pilla brothers, an integral part of the original Venetian Spritz, celebrates its first centenary, paying homage to its beloved lagoon city as always. And the original Spritz recipe

It was 1920. In one Venice animated by the excitement of the first post-war period, two young Bolognese entrepreneurs, Mario and Vittorio Pilla, officially registered the brand of a new product, destined to become a true icon of the lagoon city: Select, an aperitif with a lively red color. A name of great impact, solemn and modern at the same time, which according to some would have been coined by Gabriele D'Annunzio himself using a contraction of the Latin word Selectus, or "chosen", "selected". In fact, as evidenced by some documents of the time, Select would be more simply the acronym of «Liqueurs And Tartar Cream Wine Plant, the San Donà di Piave factory where the bitter in question was initially produced. Beyond the baptismal disputes, in any case, this glorious aperitif blows out its first 100 candles in these months: an important birthday, celebrated with the certainty of having been able to preserve not only the rigor of its original recipe, but also everything the charm of those roots so blatantly lagoon.

The secrets of an iconic aperitif

What we drink & co. we can find inside the iconic bottle of Select is the result of a production process that lasts a total of 9 months. In fact, it starts with a slow maceration of botanicals in a very fine mixture of water and alcohol, we proceed with hot boiling to obtain the extract of the aromatic herbs and finally we move on to distillation in purity to extract the most aromatic part of the herbs. From these three steps, 8 extracts are obtained which, mixed according to the secret recipe, make up the Select formula, whose heart contains the complexity and the many facets of the bitter. The juniper berries, with their fresh and resinous notes, and the rhizome of rhubarb, the part of the plant richest in aromatic components, complete the whole, making Select particularly suitable for mixing.

The Venetian Spritz recipe

The origin of Spritz is lost in the twists and turns of the nineteenth century, when the Austro-Hungarian soldiers on duty in Veneto used to lengthen their glass of wine with a pinch of sparkling water, to make everything slightly lighter. The spread of this habit, however, has led the various Venetian provinces to gradually develop their own personal version of the Spritz, complete with various additions and coded recipes in the following: and yes, as regards the authentic Venetian Spritz we find Select among the official ingredients. Here's what the recipe says.

Venetian Spritz

7.5 cl of Prosecco
5 cl of Select
2,5 cl of Soda / Seltz
1 Green Olive

Fill a wine glass with ice, pour in the Prosecco and add Select. Fill with soda or soda water and garnish with a large green olive.

Between glass art and architecture

The link between Select and the city of Venice, however, goes far beyond the simple toast of 6pm. Marco Ferrari, CEO of Montenegro Group of which Select is an integral part. Thus on the one hand we find the collaboration with the historian Salviati glassworks, who created a collection of 100 limited edition glasses, sold exclusively at the Fondaco dei Tedeschi. On the other hand, however, the decision was announced to want to bring at least a part of Select's production back to the center of Venice itself, within a new experiential space that will be named precisely Ca 'Select. The headquarters will be in a former industrial laboratory in the Cannaregio district, and will extend over an area of ​​650 square meters: the project, signed by the Marcante-Testa studio, provides for the recovery of an industrial building that will reflect – both in architecture and in setting – the unmistakable style of the Venetian aperitif par excellence.

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