Italian Regional Coffees

Italian Regional Coffees

Italy is a large country and coffee, or caffè, is an important part of its culture. So it seems fitting that Italy has many regional caffè variations, habits, and traditions.  Let’s start at the top of the boot.

In the north eastern region of Italy, one can enjoy a Caffè Anisette, an anise-flavored Espresso.

In the Aosta Valley, way up in the north west part of Italy near France and Switzerland, you can enjoy a Caffè alla Aldostana. It is a popular coffee drink, which includes sugar, lemon peel, cloves, cinnamon and juniper. Even more interesting, is a tradition how they drink their coffee, which involves a wooden cup, grolla, that often gets passed on from one friend to the next.

Meanwhile, in Turin, the cherished Bicerin is their signature coffee drink, which evolved from the 18th-century Bavareisa. Bicerin is a delizioso combination of coffee, cream and chocolate, which is pored in separate layers and served in a small glass. A quick stir before drinking, and you are in caffè heaven.

In the beautiful city of Padua, of St. Anthony fame, one can enjoy Patavina coffee, originating from a 19th century tradition. This coffee was a popular drink amongst politicians and intellectuals, who loved to meet met in the city's cafés. A Patavina combines espresso with cream, to which milk, mint syrup, and a sprinkle of cocoa powder are added.

In central western Italy, in the Marche region, the Moretta fanese, Moretta di Fano or simply Moretta is a coffee originating in the city of Fano.

A Moretta is a type of Caffè Corretto, which is coffee mixed w/ a small amount of liquor (made from anise, rum or brandy, etc).   Therefore, this coffee is strong and sweet, and is usually drunk after meals to help with digestion. According to legend, the Moretta was created by the sailors and fishermen in that area who enjoyed the warmth and caffeine kick this favorite drink provided as they were heading out to sea.

Heading down to the central eastern part of Italy, in Naples, there is a delicious coffee variation which features hazelnut, giving coffee an intense, nutty and creamy flavor. The barista will first pour cream in the bottom of the cup, afterwards hot coffee is poured over it. This technique creates a sweet and flavorful temperature contrast.

The creativity of the Neapolitans gave birth to the Cuccumella, a type of coffee maker invented by Neapolitans that percolates very slowly and is used to make a Tazzulella (an intense black coffee similar to demitasse).

Way down in southwestern Italy on the heel of the boot, the city of Salento in Puglia has some wonderful traditional summertime cold coffee drinks. Usually prepared one of two ways, the first has an ice cube being dropped in the cup of sweetened coffee. The second consist of the sweetened coffee being poured into a glass that already contains the ice.

A refreshing variation on these summertime drinks, cold almond milk is poured in the cup, followed by espresso, and topped with small ice cubes.

In Calabria, a region where the ancestors of many Italians American hail from, has a coffee tradition that utilizes licorice, a plant common in the region. Thanks to fertile soils, Calabrian sunshine, and a licorice friendly unique climate, the region boasts arguably the best licorice in the world.

Calabrian licorice coffee’s also include sugar and brandy, which after heating, a licorice tablet is added.   Finally hot espresso is poured in the glass and a wonderful aromatic and delicious coffee is born.

Finally, in parts of Sicily, try Caffè d’un Parrinu, an Arabic influenced caffè flavored with cinnamon, cloves, and cocoa.

Hope this coffee journey around Italy inspires you to visit Italy and experience this amazing culture.  Try making some of the above coffee drinks at home with Saravella. 

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