Articles for Food and Wine
Espresso coffee is the best-known Italian drink in the world. Much more than a simple drink, espresso is a real "institution". In fact, coffee is an integral part of Italian culture. Then just change city to find different colour, aroma, taste and quantity of coffee in the cup. The differences vary in particular between Northern and Southern Italy and are linked to the culture, traditions and habits of the people who consume it. In fact, the characteristics of the blend, the preparation methods, the body, the aroma, the cream and the taste of the coffee change. Coffee tends to be lighter in Northern Italy and more full-bodied going South.
A perfectly prepared espresso coffee fills about half the cup, with about 25 millilitres of coffee and has a consistent hazelnut cream. In fact, the cream covers every good espresso. The aroma is intense and rich in notes of flowers, fruit, chocolate and toasted bread. In the mouth the espresso is full-bodied and velvety, pleasantly bitter. The perfect espresso must have a balanced and very persistent taste.
The espresso system was born from the need to obtain coffee quickly (the word “espresso” in Italian means fast), thanks to the various systems for increasing the water pressure. To make a good espresso, the ideal conditions are: a 7 gr. dose of ground coffee; the water temperature between 88-94 ° C, the temperature of the coffee in the cup around 67° C and the cream on the surface with a thickness of 3-4 mm. Furthermore, only coffee beans should be used to ensure maximum freshness and taste. As for the type of cups to use, espresso coffee preferably requires porcelain cups, with a thickness sufficient to maintain the temperature.
Usually, the coffee used in espresso is the result of a mixture of several coffees. Indeed, through blending it is possible not only to keep the quality of the final product stable, but also to enhance the organoleptic characteristics of each coffee. By selecting the types of coffee on the basis of their characteristics (aroma, quality, persistence, body) and combining them, it is possible to enhance their qualities.
When we talk about coffee varieties we usually think of Arabica, Robusta and Liberica. In reality there are innumerable types of coffee in the world (more than 100 varieties), but from the commercial point of view there are about ten the most popular varieties. Between one type of coffee and another certainly changes the taste, more or less strong and with a different aroma; caffeine content which may be higher or lower; adaptability to different climates and terrains. Also, the cultivation altitude has a great influence on the production of one variety of coffee and the other, in fact some types prefer those at high altitude (like the Arabica), others less so.
The roasting process consists in bringing coffee beans to very high temperatures for about 15-18 minutes, transforming green coffee beans into crumbly and fragrant beans. The degree of roasting influences the colour of coffee. It is in this process that the taste and aroma of coffee are formed. Normally, after roasting, coffee is left to rest for a few days in special silos before being packaged. The aroma is the unmistakable scent of true Italian espresso.
In Italy there is a vast choice in terms of coffee offer. It is in fact the only Country in which one can enjoy a good coffee in so many ways: narrow, long, decaffeinated, “macchiato”, with cream, with alcohol, shaken, cold, but also flavoured with hazelnut, cocoa or chocolate, and so on.
There is a curiosity related to coffee: the custom of the so-called "suspended coffee". This custom began in Naples during the Second World War, when, in very difficult times, people used to pay for two cups of coffee: one for themselves and one for those who could not afford it. Even today, when a customer orders a suspended coffee, he pays for two coffees while receiving only one. In this way, when a person in need enters the bar, he can ask if there is a suspended coffee: if so, he receives the consumption of a cup of coffee as if it had been offered to him by the first customer. This tradition has remained alive for several years, and after a certain decline, it has recently come back into vogue, not only in Naples, but throughout Italy.
The goodness of pappa al pomodoro has won over many people and even famous singers who have even dedicated songs to it. How come? You can't understand it if you don't taste it, but beware that the original and delicious pappa al pomodoro can only be found in Tuscany.
A blackmail that has been declared as the dish of the 'true Mediterranean face'. Simple ingredients, exciting history and intense flavour, but it also hides some legends that few people know.
Among the many curiosities, it is said that even Collodi, Pinocchio's father, loved pappa al pomodoro very much.
So much so that in the original version of the story, there was a passage that spoke of this dish being eaten by Pinocchio and Lucifer.
This is one of the testimonies of how it is a traditional and typical Tuscan dish that often becomes one of the usual and continuous requests of visitors to this region.
But the problem is always the same, either we have a favorite ice cream parlor or for each ice cream purchased we go to a different ice cream parlor and we are never satisfied.
If you have a favorite ice cream shop in Marina di Carrara, then I think you can also skip this article because of course you will already know the content. But if you are one of those who have visited them all and are not satisfied yet, I think you are missing one.