Thursday, April 11, 2013

Facciamo un Brindisi




By Patricia Winton

Facciamo un Brindisi is the Italian way of saying “Let’s make a toast.” There are two competing stories about the origin of the phrase. One comes from that high Italian art form, opera. That idea says the word brinidisi is based on a German phrase Ich bring dir's – "I offer it to you." In several Italian operas, two character sings an invitation to drink to each other, and the chorus joins in. The word also refers to a drinking song which encourages people in a large group to drink and toast each other. One of the most famous of this type of brindisi comes from La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi. (Listen while you read the rest of this post.)

But the word brindisi may also come from the Italian town of the same name, located on the southeast coast of Italy . This story is connected with ancient Rome. The town of Brindisi then, as now, was a port city. Roman armies embarked on campaigns to make war and conquer more territories from Brindisi. After marching the 476 miles (295 km.) from Rome, the soldiers would revel in the town, drinking and toasting each other for success in battle and a safe return.

Italian vintners have reason to make a brindisi these days. Exports of Italian wine have increased by 10 percent over the past few years, and exports of prosecco, the bubbly traditionally used for brindisi, have soared 26 percent to the United States and Canada in the past year alone. So Americans and Canadians should be making more brindisi these days.

Prosecco hails from the area around Conigliano-Valdobbiadene, in the Veneto region of Italy nestled near the Alps. The wine enjoys a “geographic indication,” which means that only wine from the region can be called by either of these three names: Prosecco di Conigliano, Prosecco di Valdobbiadene, or Prosecco di Conigliano-Valdobbiadene. In 2008, its status was elevated from D.O.C. (Controlled name origin) to D.O.C.G. wherein the authentic name is guaranteed.

It’s a wine with a sharp, fresh aroma and a light taste. Aged in stainless steel vats instead of in the bottle, prosecco is a wine to drink young as it goes flat with age. That’s all the more reason to make a brindisi.

I hope you’ll raise a glass of it soon.

Next week, I'll be writing here at Italian Intrigues again. My next post at Novel Adventurers will be April 25. Please check out my new website.

No comments: