Although there are a million and one ways to drink coffee in Italy, I’m always surprised and delighted to discover a new one. Especially one like caffè alla salentina, perfectly suited to the summer weather which has finally arrived.
A few days ago, I visited the region of Puglia for only the second time in my life. The first time was almost thirty years ago when I travelled to the port of Brindisi to take a ferry across the Adriatic to Patras and the Greek mainland beyond. This time, I was meeting up with an old friend and colleague who is from the picturesque town of Tricase in Salento. (Salento, is roughly half of Puglia and corresponds to the peninsula which forms the heel of Italy’s boot.)
Sunday in the piazza
Whilst we were taking a Sunday morning caffeine hit in the bar in the piazza—which was nursing its hangover from its refurbishment party the night before—Patrizia introduced me to caffè alla Salentina, aka caffè Leccese, or caffè ghiacciato con latte di mandorla. The latter—iced coffee with almond milk—says it all.
Latte di mandorle
In Salento, latte di mandorla is not what you think. It’s actually an almond syrup rather than the recently popular dairy substitute. Almonds are a local product and the syrup is officially listed as a Prodotto Agroalimentare Tradzionale (Traditional Agricultural Food Product) of Puglia.
Making caffè alla Salentina at home couldn’t be simpler. You need a moka (an Italian espresso maker), ice cubes, and a bottle of latte di mandorle. Put a few ice cubes in a glass, pour the hot coffee over the top, add a dash of the latte di mandorle and eccoci!
I’m going to be drinking this all summer. Try it, you might get hooked too.