From Milan to the Mill

The Spritz Phenomenon

Every spring, Milan becomes the destination for designers from all over the world who descend upon the the city for the Salone del Mobile, to experience what is the latest and greatest in the design industry.

In addition to the show, the whole city celebrates creativity during Design Week, with home furnishing and interior design companies  hosting unique events at their locations.  Pop up installations are everywhere by brands of any industry, with new concepts for Living, and all doors are open with crowds and lines forming. On the surface, Milan can appear somewhat stoic, but below the surface there is a dynamic vibrancy due to the strong blend of culture and commerce. On alternating years, the design show has a focus on lighting, which is inspiring to see with the nearly limitless variations in construction and materials. The use of glass is so pervasive from pendants to chandeliers and lamps. Milan is both an inspiration and affirmation of how important creativity is to business.

After an entire day at the trade show or events around the city, the golden hour sets in when everyone goes out for the Aperitivi, a ritual that starts around 6pm. The classic bitter liqueurs and aromatized wines are served before dinner, and many of the unique combinations of drinks evolved through the midcentury era in Italy. The modern Aperitivi with a spritz of either Procesco or soda water, are more than just drinks, they are meant to inspire, reflect and get the conversations going.

The famed Bar Basso, known for the Negroni Sbagliato, appears to be a traditional establishment  but has a cosmopolitan clientele and this particular campari drink is typically served in a giant hand blown goblet with a large block of ice. From the street you know you are approaching Bar Basso because crowds gather around it.

A previous recipe for a Negroni on this blog can be found here.

During the golden hour, throughout Milan you see many people drinking an orange toned Aperitivi, known as Aperol spritz, which has gained in popularity and finds it’s way here to Vermont and is served at our Mill.

Jarod

 

Jerod our Restaurant and Bar Director says “We are loving the sharp elements that amaro’s are bringing to the table right now. Our guests are looking for lighter cocktails that they can enjoy before their dinners and Aperol brings a refreshing element to these. Paired with Barr Hill Gin, Orange, and a splash of soda is a lovely way to enjoy this ever popular aperitif!”. 

Here is our recipe for “The Bubbly Bee”:

1-1/2 oz Barr Hill Gin

1/8 oz Aperol

1/8 oz St. Elder

1-1/2 oz Prosecco

Small orange slice or twist to garnish

Build in 1/2 ice filled glass, add a splash of soda and garnish.

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I also made up my own Americano, while in the Dolomites:

1-1/2 ounces of Campari

1-1/2 ounces of vermouth

Soda water

Served in our own Apprentice glass.

Spring Tablescapes

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As days grow longer and dappled sunlight casts its playful shadows through our windows, we set our tables with Burlington Cloud dinnerware and exclusive Watercolor Floral print table linens (napkin, runner, tablecloth).

From Spring holiday tables to Mother’s Day brunch and all the casual family weekend lunches in between, the wavy and organic silhouette of the Burlington dinnerware melds with natural elements for the table, while the versatile floral print linens can be styled with cool or warm toned floral and centerpiece accents*.

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*It should be noted that linen is the ideal sustainable fabric. Far less water and pesticides are used to grow flax, from which linen is woven, and no parts of the flax plant are wasted (also yielding linseed oil, twines and ropes)

The “must have” new hand blown glass star of our Spring tablescape is the Addison Basket. Fill it with eggs or a May Day plant and offer it as a hostess gift, or set multiples down your table for a festive centerpiece. This year we are offering hand carved marble eggs as well, to fill the basket with, or to lay along your tablescape.

Two new light and fanciful elements for the Spring table are Horn Handled flatware and a napkin folded “nest”.  The flatware is crafted in France. The horn pattern (made from acrylic) is hand finished and each piece of the set has a unique and gorgeous design.  We fashioned the napkin “nest” by rolling and coiling our napkin just so, to cradle a marble or real egg .*

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*We’ve used the iconic blue egg from the Araucana chickens, that we hunt down at local markets here in Vermont, but you could paint a wood egg as well.

The finishing glass touches to our Spring table begin with Woodstock tumblers. We love our small tumblers with the rounded silhouettes because they can work as stemless wine tumblers, cocktail glasses, or a simple water glass. This Woodstock (and that of the Apprentice glass) silhouette is fuller, shorter, and more casual, while the elegant Hampton Stemless Tumbler, with its thinner and slightly tapered, taller shape, offers a more refined option.

Our favorite new candlelight option is the Bristol Small Hurricane with its lower profile and angular shape. It brings a modern and fresh element to the table.

As Spring progresses and the peonies blossom, consider adding our new Engraved Floral Addison Vase, engraved with spring blossoms, to your spring table or windowsill. The engraved design adds texture and the tapered opening holds delicate blossoms or greenery alike. It is fast becoming a Spring favorite of our customers.

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For fuller and larger Spring gatherings, consider adding these three customer favorites:

Apprentice Glassware

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Practice makes perfect imperfection on the path to mastery. A side benefit of educating a new generation of artisans? Seeing and feeling the vibrant authenticity of their initial creations. Each unique apprentice piece illustrates the meaning of “handmade” with a wabi-sabi aesthetic that brings the energy and passion to your table.

Simon Pearce glass blowers train for years, much of the time, working in tandem with another glass blower to perfect their craft. Along the way, however, each glassblower spends time alone, creating what we call “Apprentice Glass”.  An apprentice glass (or bowl, or vase) is created from a singular gather of molten glass from the furnace, and is shaped in its entirety from this one gather. This allows the glassblower to develop their proficiencies in elements of glassblowing such as gathering, blowing, transferring from one pipe to another (with the aid of a stand), shaping and opening the glass. Working swiftly, each piece takes 8-9 min, and in a day, the glassblower will complete up to fifty glasses.

Another element of the apprentice glassware is its simplicity of design. Only general specifications are followed, and without a partner, the glassblower can not add design details such as a foot, rolled rim, or texture, to the glass. As you can see from the above photos, blowing a simple drinking vessel out of glass, is at once, a race against time and an exercise in precision. The end result is perfect imperfection. Each vessel has its own character, and yet they hang nicely together as a group. The Apprentice Collection has become one of our customers’ favorites, as they choose the shapes they like from a group on display.

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