When it comes to coffee, for us Italians the topic is very delicate. This is because it is not a simple hot drink but a symbol of Italianness. The ritual of the cup is an indispensable pleasure for us Italians.
“Italian coffee ” is extremely identifying for the nation and is closely linked to our traditions. The meaning we attribute to "going for a coffee" or "offering a coffee" is very profound, it means socializing, meeting up and establishing a relationship of trust. According to statistics, approximately 96% of the Italian population drinks espresso on a daily basis and approximately 30% drink at least three cups a day.
But how do coffee rituals change across the country?
In this short article we will tell you how the traditions linked to the art of coffee change from North to South. These are differences dictated by cultural factors rather than by lack of skills.
Starting from the far North we find the coffee of the Aosta Valley. Here coffee is famous both for its preparation and for the common wooden container in which it is drunk: the grolla . For each cup of coffee poured into the grolla, add half a cup of grappa (or juniper), 2 teaspoons of sugar, lemon zest, cloves, cinnamon and juniper. Then the rim of the cup is sprinkled with sugar, a little grappa and the contents are set on fire until the sugar on the rim caramelises.
Furthermore, Valle d'Aosta coffee is drunk by diners in the same grolla one after the other, strictly in an anti-clockwise direction.
Next, moving towards Piedmont , we meet the "Bicerin" . This is the evolution of the eighteenth-century bavareisa, the breakfast of the wealthy Turin people who frequented the cafés of the time. It consists of coffee, chocolate and liquid cream served in a glass glass, in separate layers.
To enjoy it at its best, we recommend mixing the three components with a teaspoon to mix everything together!
Let's now move on to the Veneto region , here it is possible to taste the Tazzina Patavina . The Padua specialty, which was born in the 19th century, combines espresso with cream, milk, a sprinkling of cocoa and mint syrup.
To taste a strong coffee you need to head to the Marche , to the city of Fano . Moretta Fanese is a hot drink made with coffee and liqueurs, traditionally linked to the sailors and fishermen of the port of Fano since the 17th century . The drink was born as a digestive or as a strengthening afternoon drink. For this reason it was much appreciated by sailors from the Marche before going to sea!
Its current 3-layer version was born after the war with the spread of the espresso machine. In fact, a mixture of sugar, rum, anise and brandy is added to the coffee , all heated with a lemon peel but be careful with the process!
Using the steam nozzle, heat the 3 liqueurs, the lemon zest and the sugar in the glass until it dissolves completely. Then add the boiling espresso coffee, holding the glass slightly tilted to prevent the two liquids from mixing together. The real brunette is characterized by its 3 typical layers: liqueur, coffee and coffee cream.
Descending towards southern Italy, we pass through the most iconic region of Italian coffee, Campania . Traditional Neapolitan coffee is linked to an exceptional ingredient: hazelnut, which gives the cup an intense and creamy flavour. There are different versions of the recipe, some add cream on the bottom to create more contrast.
In Calabria , coffee is combined with a plant deeply linked to the territory, liquorice.
To prepare a Calabrian coffee you need 3 ingredients: coffee, brandy and licorice. The sugar and brandy are heated together in the glass. In the meantime, a liquorice tablet is crushed to add to the liqueur and finally the hot espresso is poured.
Last on our list, but not least, the coffee from Puglia . From an ancient tradition born in Lecce in the 1950s, Salento coffee was born. This preparation is specifically designed as it allows the coffee to be cooled without watering it down. Preparing it is very simple. You put a base of almond milk , used as a sweetener, then pour an espresso (possibly long) and cover everything with lots of ice . In the hot summers at the seaside, Salento coffee is the main drink of every Apulian DOC. For the people of Lecce it is an indispensable ritual, drunk at any time of the day: from breakfast to the afternoon snack.
In short, “Where you go, you find customs” as a well-known proverb says.
Today we discovered some of the most well-known variations of the symbolic drink of Italians and how the art of coffee is influenced in different regions.
And how do you drink coffee?
Experiment with all these new drinks by trying the blends Coffee Good morning.
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