Achte Dritte Mitte

by convivialist

Since November, four friends and I have been hosting a regular aperitivo pop-up event during the third week of every month in the center of Berlin Mitte. Aptly named Dritte Mitte, we originally wanted to bring friends together for a classic Italian ‘aperitivo’, encouraging them to stop by after work for a Spritz and a little something to eat. The concept of an early-evening buffet for snacking while relaxing with a drink after work is quite foreign to Berliners (and also, as I distinctly recall, to Americans). Spain has its tapas, Italy its aperitivo, but Berlin… only Currywurst on the way to a party that probably doesn’t start until after midnight. In short, we wanted something different.

After our eighth aperitivo last night, I am happy to confirm that the concept has caught on quite nicely, and the small café that we use to host Dritte Mitte is completely packed with an international crowd of Italophiles (is that a word?) every month.

And the food. We each have our regular specialties. Frank is now the master of the polpette (meatballs in a white wine rosemary sauce). Til comes up with seasonally inspired tortillas every month, as well as his proprietary green olive and black olive pates. Katharina is the vegetable roasting queen– each one perfectly cooked and seasoned. Lorenzo is the one real Italian of the bunch of us. After a first aperitivo of slaving away with 2 kilos of his mama’s pizza dough recipe, he has now taken on a more realistic, but no less delicious lasagna. I, on the other hand, simply cannot bear to make the same dish for more than a few months in a row. My current specialty is eggplant ‘meat’balls with roasted cherry tomatoes (see post).

Drinks always include a carefully selected Italian white wine, Italian red wine, Aperol spritz or Campari spritz, and a special mixed drink. Last night was the ‘Hugo’, a splash of Holunder (elderflower) syrup and prosecco, topped with a slice of lime and a couple leaves of fresh mint. With the parks of Berlin simply reeking of Holunder flowers at the moment, it was the ideal drink for the season.