North Salem’s Amanda Polizzi launches Apero Vespa, transporting clients to Europe with every sip
Late one evening this past winter, North Salem mom Amanda Polizzi sipped her favorite wine with her husband, reminiscing about their pre-Covid (and pre-children) annual trips to Europe. With their two children asleep, Polizzi began scrolling the internet, longing to be back in Italy. “I wished I was having this wine with pasta, at that exact moment.” It was a feeling of being transported back to a singular, special memory that got Polizzi’s wheels turning-- vintage Vespa wheels to be exact. From there, the concept for Apero Vespa, “aperitivo served on our classic Vespa,” was born.
Apero Vespa is more than just a vintage bike painted a creamy white and outfitted with bar taps. It is Polizzi’s creative eye combined with her commitment to using the finest quality and most authentic ingredients for her “spritz” cocktails. Imported Italian bitter sodas, specialty cocktails, mocktails, wine tastings, and a curated bartop with lush greenery, fruit decor, and fresh flowers all come together to set Polizzi’s service apart. “We are consulting with mixologists to really make sure that the Apero is crafted properly, tastes really good, and is authentic,” she says. “Spritz is fun; it’s great for events and the Vespa bar ties in so perfectly.”
Apero Vespa will include both custom and set event packages. Polizzi wants to have “creative conversations” with her clients, digging into their wishes and vision for their special event. “Let's say [they] love tapas and want to do that– I can totally do it,” she says. “I’ll come up with ideas and recipes. [We can even] name the drinks together.” While Polizzi intends to eventually offer a more expansive menu to compliment her drink offering, for now, her focus will be on the aperitivo and possibly some finger foods such as cheese, olives, and other small party snacks. Eventually, she hopes to link up with a chef or catering company and intends to have a creative say in the menu.
Polizzi’s professional background helped to foster her creative eye for luxury and elegance. She previously worked as a photo agent for high-end fashion photographers. “I worked closely curating their portfolios, pitching to clients, and producing photoshoots for luxury brands in renowned fashion magazines worldwide,” she says.
After fifteen years spent curating fashion photography in beauty, fine art, and fashion, “I was ready to move on creatively and wanted to start my own thing,” Polizzi says. “I’ve always had an interest in the food and beverage industry. I didn’t know what I wanted to do but it’s always been boiling.” Some of her early ideas included opening a cafe or producing pop-up events but it was her experiences with travel that greatly inspired her to bring a “sensory experience” with Italian Aperitivo, to her clients.
According to Eataly Toronto, Aperitivo is “a pre-meal drink; the experience of aperitivo is a cultural ritual. Derived from the Latin aperire, the tradition is meant “to open” the stomach before dining. Accordingly, for centuries Italians have said cheers – cin cin – over drinks and appetizers in the early evening hours between work and dinner.”
Polizzi says she is eager to introduce unfamiliar wines and make unique and interesting wine recommendations to her clients. “We are in touch with a couple of sommeliers to either bring on to host [a tasting event] and also consult with,” she says.
Clients can expect Apero Vepsa to offer an aesthetically pleasing experience with each perfectly crafted cocktail (some even garnished with edible flowers from North Salem’s June Farm!) that appeals to all five senses. Polizzi draws inspiration from a restaurant called La Colombe d’Or in the South of France. The restaurant is set in an idyllic garden, which Polizzi describes as “casual, [yet] you’re surrounded by Picasso paintings and murals.” The rustic atmosphere and unparalleled food presentations are what Polizzi will channel in her offerings.
Polizzi is passionate about sharing her travel experiences with others. “I think that's where the beauty comes from,” she says. “It lives in my head because I’ve experienced it and I’m trying to execute it so that it can visually come together for everyone else. I just feel it’s those memories and those moments I want to be able to share.”
The big dream for Polizzi? Vogue Weddings. “That’s where my focus is,” she says. “I want to evoke European terrace time, Apero with a friend. [Think] spritz, striped umbrellas, and sun.” (Keep an eye out for another bike launch mid-summer 2023: a pink rosé Vespa with rosé wine and cocktails to match).
“The feeling I want to evoke is transportation,” Polizzi says dreamily. “Even if it’s just for a second…even from just a sip.”
Apero Vespa launched Friday, May 12. Bookings can be made on their website.