Since my first trip to Italy all I have longed for was another Italian cappuccino. I have had multiple conversations with others about our love for the coffee of Italy. My former co-worker from France begrudgingly but completely agreed; The Italians do it better. And my recent trip confirmed that: from the hotel coffee machine to the café on the corner Italy’s coffee is delicious.
During my first trip there wasn’t a cappuccino that I didn’t try. From Rome to Florence to Venice, any chance I broke the rule of cappuccinos only at breakfast and drank until I could drink no more. But this time I had little time and a lot of stops on the itinerary, so I did what my lovely guides and hosts did. Well, most of the time.
My first morning was the breakfast buffet at the NYX Hotel in Milan. (Side note: if you’re an American reading this you would die of shock of how wonderful these buffets are compared to our sad hotel breakfasts). After gathering my plate of fresh, delicious treats I stood in front of the ultimate sacrilege: an automated cappuccino machine. Desperate after being up 36 hours traveling the previous days and unsure if there was coffee service, I filled my cup. Gratefully there were actual waitstaff who brought me a cappuccino. But not before I had finished what was a really terrific cappuccino, actually, better than most chains-that-will-not-be-named. Yes, even the Italian automated machines are better.
Outside the Duomo I expected a less than stellar experience being a high tourist area. Before lunch we popped into this cute place, literally called Caffeè and sidled up to the bar. That is the one thing that the coffee culture offers in Italy: fast bar service. There is no need for a to-go experience when you can simply walk up and get a quick shot of espresso or cappuccino. The speed in which the baristas delivered our varied drinks was outstanding with a glass of water on the side. Oh yes, I was falling deeper into my coffee stupor.
Next destination was Lake Garda and the Hotel Bellerive did not disappoint (again these breakfasts are a whole other post). The waitstaff brought me coffee with steamed cream. It’s why you’re seeing multiple pictures of this. If there were a perfect cup of coffee, it was here. The perfect temperature and the cream. I savored each delicious cup. Later after lunch I would have another first, shot of espresso. This is not something I normally drink. But the little cup, with the little bit of sugar and the cream was just a little slice of heaven. Rich, dark, almost like a dessert in the way of satiating a sweet tooth, but with coffee.
Now that I’m back, I’ve been told that if I truly want to dive into coffee, I must go to Naples and enjoy the coffee culture there. So it’s now on my next spring trip list. But I’m afraid I may never come back. Maybe I won’t…