Let’s start saying that often Italian words are misspelled abroad, the image above is missing an f but I have chosen to use it anyway, to make a point, of course Caffè would be the right word, as the others you will find below in Italic, always often misspelled.
A great cup of coffee is perfect at any time, an occasion to invite a few friends over in a rainy afternoon, a coupe de thèatre at the end of a formal dinner, any moment of the day is perfect: a hearty cup of coffee or cappuccino for breakfast, or an espresso after lunch or dinner.
A few curiosities about coffee in Italy:
I mentioned cappuccino… in Italy is served only in the morning, if you ask for it in the afternoon they know you are a tourist…but they know you are one anyway, so go for it when you wish! Another tip for a tourist: pick the busiest coffee bar you can see near you, go to the till to pay and just say “Espresso per favore” (or you can simply say “Un Caffè” and they know you want an espresso, no long explanations needed of low fat, tall, medium roasted with caramel and on and on… ) and still standing up grab your cup, pour some sugar into your 30 ml of espresso, stir briefly and drink at once, leave your cup and saucer on the counter and out you go to enjoy the day.
If you want something similar to the American coffee ask for caffe’ lungo, which has much more caffeine. In Italy you always see people standing elbow to elbow with others while drinking coffee or aperitivo, a way of recharging batteries in a fast way (even if we invented Slow Food movement, but that is another story…). In the best bars, especially in the South you can often be served a small glass of chilled water on the side, which cleans the palate and enhances the coffee flavor.
Caffelatte is the usual breakfast for kids, lots of milk and just a small quantity of coffee, my mother used to beat for us an egg yolk with a spoon of sugar and pour it on top of the caffelatte, it made a rich, thick cream and it was delicious.
Grown ups, after meals like at times to have a caffe’ corretto, a way of modify an espresso with a drop of liqueur, usually strong grappa or the sweeter sambuca.
Caffe’ macchiato is instead an espresso with a drop of hot milk.
If possible serve on the side a selection of sugar, granulated or in cubes, raw or white ultrafine, and of course a small jug of milk is necessary if your guests want to add a drop of it and make it a macchiato.
If you serve coffee after dinner it is preferable to leave the table and sit in the living room, when after dinner drinks and a light assortment of friandise can end beautifully a great dinner (or save a mediocre one, when recipes did not behave as you wished!) you’ll then have an assortment of petit four, chocolate truffles or some small meringues.
“Let’s meet for coffee” is a way of entertaining in style, with not much effort
and without spending hours in the kitchen.
Now I leave you because I need a cup of coffee!©2011 Brillante Interiors writes about new trends, timeless decor, iconic pieces, design ideas, or at times just musing about "a certain Italian way of doing things".
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