Monday, 30 June 2014

When to have a cappuccino in Italy

Italians are trying to teach foreigners not to order a cappuccino after a meal. Years ago I asked for a cappuccino in Milan after dinner and they looked at me in horror and asked if I wanted a brioche to go with it. Italians love coffee, their espresso is their national pride. they like to tell you that cappuccino should never be drunk after eleven' o' clock in the morning. It is not quite true, you will often see a group of women with cappuccino in the afternoon. Espresso is strong and quickly drunk at the bar. In England we like to linger over our coffee and I've written all about that in a previous post. .Whatever you like to drink though, whether it is a cappuccino, espresso, macchiato, macchiatone or Americano, a cup of coffee with a friend is a chance to have a break and catch up on each others news. Ti offro un caffè?Prendi un caffe?, Ti faccio un caffè?, Dai pigliamo un caffè' these are surely some of the nicest words in the Italian language. When someone asks if you want to have a coffee it means they want to spend some time with you. Italian friends will set out their best cups on a tray with a sugar bowl and milk jug, English friends are more likely to give you their favourite mugs. Either way it is a wonderful feeling to pull up a chair with a friend and have a cup of coffee.
When my friends first came to visit me in Italy they were amazed at the little cups of espresso but after a while they preferred them. It is probably  better for your digestion after a meal.So maybe you shouldn't ask for a cappuccino after a meal in a restaurant but there is a time of day when it is perfect, on Monday morning at eleven o clock, with a brioche. For lots of Italians this is sacro santo, that means they can't do without it.I can understand that.

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