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.
Have you ever wondered where the word ‘palace’ comes from? Ultimately, it derives from the Latin palatium which was another name for the mons palatinus (Palatine Hill) one of Rome’s legendary seven hills.
Moka: easy or difficult to use?
A recent article in a British national newspaper, said that coffee made in a traditional Italian moka ‘is often hugely bitter and over-extracted rocket fuel’. It goes on to say how ‘fiendishly difficult’ the moka is to use. I was so incensed by this that I felt I had to write an article. To quote a phrase of our time, what they said is fake news.
Let’s start with a proverb
As a Venetian proverb puts it, ‘chi ga santoli, ga bussolai‘ (if you’ve got godparents, you’ve got bussolai). Judging by this, they are something worth having, and indeed they are. Bussolai are delicious butter cookies from the Venetian island of Burano which achieve their golden yellow colour through the use of egg yolks. They are definitely one to add to my list of 10 of the best Italian pastries.
Coffee and the Italians
It’s no secret that Italians love their coffee. A recent survey showed that 97% of Italians drink coffee (or caffè) at least once a day. It is so synonymous with Italy that even American coffee chains, whose coffee has little resemblance to the Italian variety, use Italian sounding words even for the size of their cups (cups which are much larger than anything you find in Italy).
Last year, you may remember, I was in Padua searching for its most famous traditional cake whilst waiting for the rain to stop. It was almost impossible to find the pazientina but a long search led me to one of the last patisseries still making it and the only one I could find. Imagine my surprise then when a few days ago I came across the cake in Venice.