Aperitivo and gelato… a perfect early dinner for jet-lagged children

January 23, 2014 / Food & Wine
Milan, Lombardia

We arrived in Milan at midnight our time, 9 am local time. Between airplane movies and their excitement, my kids had slept only a couple of hours during the flights, but rather than allow them to crash, we followed the advice I give my own clients: to adjust to local time, stay outside in the sunshine and fresh air and try to keep moving.

Kids on Duomo, Milan

After a few hours of sightseeing, however, we took pity on the kids and went back to the hotel for a mid-afternoon nap. About 5 pm, we decided to wake up our (very grumpy) offspring.

“I’m tired, I don’t want to get up…. zzzzzzz.”

We told them we’d go for another walk, get something to eat, and then they could go back to bed.

“I’m not hungry.”

We knew they wouldn’t make it through Italian dinner time, which starts no earlier than 7.30 pm, but they needed something to eat before going back to bed. Luckily, the Italian pre-dinner aperitivo hour was about to begin. It wasn’t created for jet-lagged children, but when you buy a drink, you can help yourself to a kid-sized plate of food from the buffet.

Drinks for parents, small plates for children. Gelato as promised, and then bed time – perfetto!

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by Madeline Jhawar

Madeline is the owner of Italy Beyond the Obvious, and creates Italy itineraries for independent travelers.

15 Responses to “Aperitivo and gelato… a perfect early dinner for jet-lagged children”

  1. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    although I am sure it was prepared well and very good to the taste, it appears that much of the fare was prepared for the American palate.

    • Giuseppe that’s a very interesting observation but I don’t think these aperitivi were prepared for the American palate, as these photos were taken in Milan’s Navigli district on a Thursday evening where it was pretty much exclusively Italians.

  2. Ginny Siggia

    Who needs dinner after the aperitivo hour? What a great idea. My 10-year-old daughter found the UK time very trying, and she was not at all receptive to unfamiliar food. Then we discovered “jacket potatoes” as we walked around the streets of London. What kid doesn’t enjoy baked potatoes? I let her eat them every day if she wanted, grateful that she hadn’t latched on to McDonald’s French fries. Gradually we added other food, but it was a big breakthrough. (The time change was far more difficult and I’d rather not think about how or even whether that ever got resolved!) She also loved High Tea, perhaps more for the cakes than the ham salad sandwiches, but by the end of the trip her diet was reasonably diverse and she has good memories of it.

    • Ginny – jacket potatoes, yum! Yes aperitivi is a great dinner for kids who don’t eat that much. You can’t really take a giant plate of food though so Italians tend to nibble with a pre-dinner drink and then go to dinner a couple hours later.

  3. Anstell Ricossa

    I also find it hard to believe that Giuseppe’s remark is not correct ! Have visited Italy many times, and have never experienced a “spuntino” such as this !

    • Anstell – well then you know where you go next time you’re in Italy :-) I have done many aperitivi in Italy and have found Milan, Torino and Parma to have the best, most extensive spreads…..

  4. Anita Fiorini

    Why all the complaints? I think everything looks delicious no matter what
    anyone says. I would love to go there.

  5. Janie G.

    Hi! Madeline- Found your article to be fun, informative and entertaining. Inspired me to do some research on Milan’s Navigli district in preparation on my family’s first trip to Italy in a year or so. Also plan to do some looking around on your website. Will keep mayamilano in mind. Thanks for the tips. (love the picture of your kiddos on the Duomo)

  6. I just found this! Great tips. Me and my daughter are doing a walking tour of Tuscany in May 2016. Can’t hardly wait!


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