Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In Italy, "let's go to the bar" means.........

a delightful meeting with friends or business associates.   And the beverage is coffee!   Coffee made a number of ways.  
On Sunday Yle took us to her favorite bar to show us how to have un cafe, Italiano!
Many times while traveling in Italy I would stop in a friendly looking bar that was not too crowded to have a cappuccino and a brioche.   Since you ONLY drink cappuccino in the mornings in Italy I always found it more difficult to order coffee later in the day.
Expresso is troppo forte, to strong for me and asking for another brew with milk is beyond my limited language skills.  I think I am asking for a coffee with a lot of hot milk and have received warm milk instead......   just another fun experience.
So lets have Yle show us how to prenda una cafe!


Andiamo al bar a prendere un caffé:  Let’s go to the bar for a coffee
One of the sentences you will most frequently be asked in Italy is to go to the bar for a coffee: now..it will happen among friends, during a business meeting or after basic greetings.

 Coffee at the bar infact, in Italy, is a kind of anthropological key to make have a conversation or just interact with others, or simply relax and enjoy a gorgeous espresso or cappuccino on your own or in good company.

You can find a bar  everywhere in Italy (even at the beach) and in the bar,  it is possible to taste and try so many delicious things:      coffee, tea, soft drinks, snacks, pastries and excellent wines as well.

In a bar you can actually choose to drink your beverage standing or sitting: depending on the time you can devote to your break and the people having coffee with you,  you can always choose to sit at the bar tables and eventually read the newspaper or check your emails (many bars in Italy are wifi and offer this opportunity). 

For some people having coffee means sitting and enjoying a long chat..but for many others it’s a very quick ritual that you enjoy alone or with somebody else just standing up.

Some bars, when you sit at their tables charge you a little bit more…but if it is about sitting in a beautiful Italian historical town or in front of the ocean.........it’s worth a little charge. Actually is does not happen in all the bars. Some of them just don’t consider this extra charge. Charging the outdoor table is very frequent in commercial Italian destinantions: in little towns, for example, it usually never happens.

Now I will try to tell you how it works in Italy to visit a bar and enjoy a “buona colazione.

 As soon as you enter, you should pay your “scontrino” (receipt) and thus place your order at the “cassa” (cash register). The good boy or girl will certainly ask you “cosa prende” that means what are you going to have and at that point you list what your whishes are: 
un caffé (a coffee), un cappuccino (a cappuccino), un espressino (kind of a mini-cappuccino).

 Also they will ask you..”qualcosa da mangiare” something to eat?       At that point, after having seen  the amazing display  you will ask for your snack or pastry.
After paying at the cash register and having received the scontrino and head to the coffeemaking barman (barista). At this stage you will clearly tell him/her what your order is and let the barman check it on the receipt. Some barista like making art drawings into the froth (schiuma) thus making little heart, or other fun artistic patterns.


When asking for a cappuccino or for an espressino, the barista will certainly ask you if he/she can add a sprinkle of cocoa on top. In some bars, together with your espresso, you will get a little chocolate (cioccolatino) or biscotto (little biscuit).

Breakfast in Italy usually consists of an espresso or a cappuccino and a pastry: cornetto (croissant) filled with custard, jam or nutella, brioche, kraphen. 

Italian children (bambini) usually have breakfast at home consisting of milk and biscuits (we have so many delicious cookies that children really love and they use natural ingredients very low in fats).

Italians mostly have their cappuccino in the morning for their breakfast and not later: after eating infact they always have coffee but never a cappuccino. Many Italians don’t really have breakfast in the morning but enjoy several shots of espresso throughout the morning.

Cappuccino should be well hot (ben caldo) or tepid if you prefer. There’s also another delicious drink “caffé latte” which is larger than cappuccino and much paler:      that means a little coffee and lots of milk served in a glass (not in the cup).

One of the first things I miss when I return from my yearly trip to Italy is having the best coffee each morning, not to mention the wonderful cakes and pastries........   take me home to Italy!!!





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