How to order an Italian Coffee – What to eat with your coffee: Italian breakfast

If you’re  ordering coffee  in an Italian bar, it’s probably breakfast time or shortly after your meal so you can get un caffè  to  help  your  digestion.  If  it’s breakfast,  expect  a  mainly-sweet food offering, heavy on the carbohydrates. Cornetti (cornetto sing.) or brioche are Italian croissants which are usually less buttery and more bread-like than French croissants.   Pronunciation:   cor-NEHT- toh If you want to eat a cornetto, you may be faced with a selection of them, including:

Vuoto or semplice – a plain or “empty / simple” cornetto with no filling.

a crema – pastry cream, a custard-like cream made with flour, milk, sugar, and eggs,  and  probably has  added  vanilla flavor, too.

alla marmellata – with jam inside. Usually this is albicocca, apricot jam.

Frutti di bosco, wild berries, is a popular alternative.

al cioccolato  –  with chocolate  inside, this can be a crema pasticcera, pastry cream, made with flour, milk, and eggs. It might be Nutella, a chocolaty hazelnut spread, or a similar recipe.

alla Nutella – make no mistake, this is filled with Nutella.

integrale – not a very popular version, this cornetto is made with whole wheat flour. It might be plain or con miele with honey inside.

cornetto salato – even more rare to find, a cornetto that is more buttery bread than sweet, and it may have sandwich fillings (like prosciutto or salame) inside.

Other breakfast breads and pastries may include,  depending on how  much variety the bar has: krapfen or bombolone  (cream  or  jelly-filled donuts), pain au chocolat (French pastry with chocolate inside), and muffins (American muffins  are  becoming quite popular   and   are   found   in   different places, including highway-side Autogrill stores – mainly blueberry or chocolate versions).

You’ll probably also see a little display of prepackaged foods for breakfast in a bar or other food place for those who want to eat a plum cake – a small poundcake, brioche/cornetti can also be prepackaged (I suggest avoiding these if you can get the fresh ones), or biscotti (Italian cookies which are dry and  made  for  soaking  up  that cappuccino! Not to be confused with the twice-baked cookies called “biscotti” in the US which are really cantuccini  in Italy). You might see some fette biscottate, small slices of dry toast, ready to  spread  jam onto.  Fette biscottate are a popular favorite for Italians eating breakfast at home.

If you’re  desiring something to  eat along with your coffee, you’ll want to note if it’s self-service (a display of pastries set aside from the  bar  and/or with with the case opening facing you) or if it’s something that you’ll need to order  when you order  when you give your   coffee   order   (the   pastries   are behind a glass case or the counter).


A note on Drinking Coffee and Eating Breakfast at Home like an Italian



Most Italians go to the bar because they believe the coffee is better, and it’s espresso coffee. At home, most Italians use a moka pot which is a stovetop brewer of coffee made of aluminum or steel. The consistency is quite different from espresso, and usually is missing the crema cream finish from traditional espresso  machines.  Italians  will  add quite a bit of milk to the coffee from the moka for their breakfast and dunk the dry biscotti,  cookies,  in  it  or  fette biscottate, dry toast. If you want to make “moka” at home, you will need the following:

Bialetti  Moka  Express  (I  suggest the 3-cup so you can offer to guests but not so much coffee that you’re wasting it if you’re alone) Fine ground Italian espresso coffee, like Illy, Kimbo, or Lavazza Demitasse/espresso cups A milk frother (if you want to make a simple cappuccino at home) As mentioned before, many Italians eat breakfast at home with caffè latte  and fette biscottate, biscotti, plum cake, or even yogurt to start their day.



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