Do you know Peroni, the Italian beer? A little? Well, me too. Sure, I lived in the UK where it’s one of the most popular beers. But still, until recently I knew very little about Nastro Azzurro, besides that it’s tasty and easy to drink. Last week, we were invited to spend the day with the brand’s team in Paris, to get to know the beer better, understand its flavor and the lifestyle conveyed by Peroni. And what a day!
Let’s start the only way I know. Eating.
We met the team and a handful of other bloggers and journalists (most of which we didn’t know, having just moved from New York) at East Mamma, a new restaurant -Italian, of course- in the Bastille area. I barely had time to sit down and introduce myself to our neighbors before I got offered a wealth of cured meats and cheese, including a piece of mozzarella cut from the biggest ball of Italian cheese I had ever seen, and a glass of Peroni. At that point, I got to learn a bit about our hosts. The Peroni brewing company was founded in 1846 in the town of Vigevano in Lombardy. It’s mostly known for its premium lager called Nastro Azzurro, which is rather light (5,1%) and far from bitter, because of the corn used in the brewing process, that softens the natural acidity of the beverage.
Right as I finished my first glass, a slice of pizza landed on my plate. Soft crust, fine tomato sauce. Happiness. After living in New York, I have developed a very precise set of requirements for my pizzas, all of which were met by East Mamma’s dough. This was followed by a series of amazing pasta dishes, too many to count, to be honest. But one in particular stood out. Flat pasta cooked in a delicious and intoxicating white truffle sauce. Man, was that good. A tiny espresso later (you know I love coffee) and we were kindly asked to hop into a tuk-tuk, which is, in Paris, the closed experience to riding a Vespa in Roma (read: feeling very much alive whilst thinking you’re about to die at every turn).
Said tuk-tuk dropped us off on the bank of the Seine river where we climbed aboard a Venitian vaporetto for a ride across the city. We got to sit back, relax, take the sights in, drink some more Peroni and ate more Italian treats. At that point I thought to myself, why can’t everyday be like this? And then it got better.
Meeting The Cifonelli’s, Bespoke Suitmakers Since 1880
We’re all about menswear and the Peroni team thought we’d enjoy visiting the oldest made-to-measure suiting workshop in Paris, Cifonelli. Well, that was a good call. We got to feel the fabrics they use, look at some of their clients’ extravagant garments, talk to Massimo Cifonelli, head of the company and grandson to the Italian founders. Walking through the workshop, I felt like we were in men’s fashion heaven. And maybe we were…
I couldn’t help myself and had to shoot the atelier.
And Then We Drank Some More…
The day was supposed to be about experiencing the Peroni lifestyle and that, of course, meant drinking some more beer. And drink we did, but differently this time. Since Nastro Azzurro is such a light beer, it can easily be mixed and so we trekked over to Maze, a cocktail bar on rue Tiquetonne, where head mixologist Ousseyne showed us (and let us sample) his favorite Peroni-based cocktails. So many interesting flavors, from elderflower syrup to Szechuan pepper made those drinks unforgettable. As a matter of fact, we will try to recreate some of these at home, providing we can find the ingredients.
Last stop of the day, the newly renovated Molitor hotel, for a final session of chilling, networking and drinking Peroni. Once again, what a day…