Food – Eating In and Out!

Love Fish? – Il Corsaro della Baia Azzurra

Some days – the ones when I am not pretending to work – Jack and I get in the car for rides to nowhere special. We simply drive and stare.  We have visited and lived in Italy for more years than I will admit to and the views still enthrall us.  Patchwork green hills frame the blue sky.  My favorite nowhere special drives have the sea on one side of the road and the hills on the other.  One day, we saw a sign that said Porto Vasto and thought – what the heck lets check out the port.  We veered off the highway and started bumping down one of Italy’s many pot hole riddled roads.  I think it was the bumping that got our tummy’s  gurgling for food.  Stop! I screamed.  What! Jack screamed.  Look there is a sign for a restaurant – Il Corsaro della Baia Azzurra.  Pirate by the blue bay????  Ahoy matey we found a place to eat. We made the 90 degree turn and slowly crept down the narrow lane.  We approached a large white house that seemed perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea.  Jack and I stared at each other.  There was no sign of life – and certainly no sign that said “Good Eats, Eat Here.”  What the hell, we are adventurous.  As I started to open the car door,  Woody Allen with a Jerry Garcia haircut burst from the house, helped me open my door and hugged me like I was his long lost Auntie Midge.  We were whisked into the house and a smiling gracious woman came out of the kitchen wiped her hands on a mapine and gave us hello kisses.

Where are we? I thought the first time we went.  Where are the cameras?  Is this my closeup?  Antonello and his wife Grazia are the owners, front of house, cooks and bottle washers of what has become our absolute favorite seafood restaurant. The interior is adorable.  The walls were festooned with portraits of press clips of a man who kind of looked like our host.  Further investigation revealed that Antonello’s dad, Claudio Crisci, was a vibrant entertainer who started the restaurant with his wife.  It has always been a two person operation committed to slow fresh food. The tables faced a wall of windows with a stellar view of the sea.  Rather than sit, we were taken on a short tour of the veranda that overlooks the Adriatic ocean.  Talk about view!  We would just come for the view but the food!  The scents of the sea wafted over us and we remembered we were starving. We only chose courses from the sea and all were prepared perfectly.   How can one woman alone in the kitchen turn out such great stuff?  Now that we are five times a year regulars, I can tell you that it is a wee bit more than eating in Pontelandolfo but worth it.  Our bill is usually around €100 but we spend hours drinking two bottles of wine, eating seafood antipasti served in multiple courses and a grilled fish entré that would feed a small family.

I could show you pictures of the food and talk about each course, but you will only get jealous and race to the refrigerator to angrily discover you don’t have any miniature clams opened in white wine, or octopus sautéed with parsley and garlic in the most fragrant of local olive oils and be frustrated because you can’t find langoustine split and grilled in your grandmother’s clay baking dish.  So, I won’t tell you what we had.   But please watch the video!

IT takes us an hour and a half to get there but ahhhhh – seafood by the sea with antics by our host. Who could ask for a better way to spend the day.  “Ristorante Tipico, Il Corsaro della Baia Azzurra is located at Via Osca, 51 in Porto Di Vasto.  Call them at 0873.310.1113

 

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Melanzane -Eggplant- Sandwiches

Sitting on the train between Naples and Milan, I was feeling sad about leaving Pontelandolfo when the elfin face of Zia Vittoria flashed across the screen of my brain. She was waving a plate of stuffed melanzane in front of my 8:00 AM – been on the road since 5:30 AM – hungry face. Now I see the train staff coming down the aisle with our early morning caffe and snacks so I know Zia Vittoria is a mirage. Since train food – even in prima class is even worse than airplane food, let’s go with my mirage. Melanzana – eggplant – is one of my “go to” comfort foods.   All of you arm chair psychologists will opine that I’m having this mirage – that includes scent – to get me out of my doldrums.

When the eggplants were in season in Pontelandolfo every home was chock full of the black-purple wonders. With a basket of them sitting on my kitchen table and my brain directing Sean Connery in a romantic comedy instead of focusing on eggplant – though it was one eggplant that made me thing of Connery – I hadn’t come up with a recipe.  Then the angel of cooking appeared with what looked like a hot panini and said  assaggiarlo – taste it. 


 I did. I let the soft flesh of the melanzana coupled with the great salty cream of a local sheep milk cheese roll around all the taste buds of my tongue. It was wonderful. Think grilled cheese without the bread! I followed my cooking muse out to the work kitchen near her gardens.

Peel only two sides of the eggplant.  Buccia pieno di vitamine.  The skin is full of vitamins.  Then make three or four really thick slices with the buccia on the outside of the slice. It is the crust of our eggplant bread. The slices need to be thick enough to partially split in half. Leave a “hinge” at the bottom. When I slice a pita bread I also leave a closed bottom so the goodies don’t leak out. 


 Vittoria uses a simple filing of fresh basil, eggs and sheep’s milk cheese.  She thick grated the cheese – which was fairly soft or new cheese.  Tons of cheese were added to 6 whipped eggs.  She tossed in a pinch of flour and chopped basil. The mixture looks like lumpy cream cheese when it is stirred and melded together.  It does not drip!  It is super thick.    You can see it in the above photo.

Finally fry both sides of the eggplant sandwhich in olive oil and keep Midge out of the kitchen or they will all be gone and you won’t have any to freeze. Did she say freeze? Many families in Pontelandolfo conserve their fresh products either by canning, drying or freezing. Zia Vittoria has a chest freezer that is always crammed full at the end of the summer.

I like to eat the stuffed eggplant literally like a sandwich. She puts then in aluminum pans and covers them with what she calls sughetto and freezes them. They will be brought out in the winter, baked and eaten like – you guessed it – a vegetarian lasagna!
Her sughetto is simply chopped tomatoes sautéed in olive oil with a smattering of salt and pepper.

Hmmmmmmmm. I can still smell them frying.

 What’s that?  You want my ticket? Oh that’s right I’m on the train to Milan.

Next summer I will be back and so will the eggplant grilled cheese sandwiches. 

Ci Vediamo!!

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Prosciutto Crudo – Cooking in Pontelandolfo

After last May’s Cooking in the Kitchens of Pontelandolfo event, I was talking food with one of the cooks who opened their homes to that first group – the wood fire pizza making guru – Nicolo Ciarlo.  Note the meats hanging in the background –

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What?  Are you serious, I demanded.  Your parents make prosciutto crudo in Connecticut?  Do they buy a whole pig?  “Midge”, he looked at me like I was stupid, “they go to Costco.”  Dimmi, I replied – tell me and tell me all!  He did – here is just one of the type of things you can learn if you come to Cook in the Kitchens of Pontelandolfo May 20 – 27th 2017!

Prosciutto Crudo – Made and Eaten by YOU!

First of all don’t go running out today to start the process.  The best time to make prosciutto crudo is from December to March.  AND – you really need to live in a place with an unheated garage.  Talk to the meat manager at Costco and find out when the fresh meat arrives.  Go on that day and buy fresh ham – a pigs upper leg. Make sure it is on the bone – it is the butt and part of leg bone.  While you are there buy a ton – I mean a real ton of large grain salt.

Location, location – bring home the hog and head for the garage. Get out your large wooden pasta board or just use a wooden table – now I do not know why it has to be a wooden table.  This is not exact science here – but hearsay and traditional methods. Put a table cloth on the board or table first and cover it with lots of salt – so much salt that you can’t see the tablecloth.  Put the hunk of pig on the salt and pour more sale all over the pork. Rub that salt in!  Get that salt in every crevice.  Now, wrap the meat in the table cloth and raise one side of the board or the table to a pretty good angle.  Stick a large plastic tub on the floor near the low end.  The tub will catch the salt, blood and liquids that will run off the meat.  Yum.  You do not want the meat to freeze!  A cold garage but not a freezing garage is best.  Keep the dog out of the garage!  The meat stays in this position for 40 days.

After 40 days take cloth off the meat.  You can press the meat down to insure that all the liquid is gone. To remove the salt wash the meat thoroughly in red wine.  You may drink a glass of red wine during this process.  Next tie a sturdy cord around the bone and hang it from a rafter for one day – that plastic tub comes in handy now too.  You need the wine to dry out.  When you wash the hog with red wine you see the meat become red.

After the meat is dry, absolutely cover it with red pepper, black pepper and garlic.  Rub those peppercorns in and cover the meat with a light cotton fabric so that bugs can’t get in.  Now hang the processed meat for one or two years – depending on the weight in an area that is always cool.  You may have to move it from garage to the basement etc.  Wait a second?  Did you think you were going to get immediate gratification?  Traditional fare takes time and is worth the wait.  After the meat hangs for the requisite years you clean off the conserving spices.  Next slice off hunks, put them in vacuum pack bags and enjoy.

Speaking of enjoying – why not come to my little village next May and Cook in the Kitchen’s of Pontelandolfo! 

Saturday, May 20, 2017 To Saturday, May 27, 2017   Limited to 8 People

For more information leave a comment!

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Ciambotta & Pasta Simple Zucchini Recipes.

 

The zucchine elf - Zia Vittoria!

The zucchine elf – Zia Vittoria!

Everyday it seems there is a mysterious bag, basket or pile of zucchini by my door.  These things must multiply like rabbits.  Last year, it seemed like I was chomping down on zucchini blossoms daily.  Bundles of fully formed zucchini didn’t appear because we were all too busy frying up the flowers – remember this post:  Fried Squash Blossoms     Don’t forget – all recipes are posted in the recipe section.  Look above the Tower Picture to find the tabs.

Ciambotta

I thought I knew how to make ciambotta!  Take whatever summer vegetables were starting to turn ugly in the fridge, slice them, dice them and sauté them with ground meat, dump in a couple of cans of diced tomatoes, add a pinch of salt and a few basil leaves.  Easy peasy.  Since everyone in New Jersey grew zucchini, the first ciambotta I ever ate featured zucchini, more zucchini and nothing but zucchini.

EEEEEEE. Midgeee, questo non e ciambotta.  I got my hand slapped by Santina the butcher when I ordered carne macinato – ground meat – and she asked what I was making.  I got my head smacked by every other elder who I asked about ciambotta.  But, I swear my mother or grandmother or someone always added ground meat.

Simply put, ciambotta is a beautiful blend of fresh – not almost rotting in the fridge – vegetables.  Zucchini, green beans and eggplant are pleantiful now.  Carrots spill over in the market with fresh white onions and tomatoes.  I add tomatoes but my cousin and ace cook Carmella Fusco didn’t and her ciambotta was magic.

The trick I have learned here in Pontelandolfo about cooking some vegetables is to not add any liquid.  The vegetables have all the liquid you need.  Put a nice thick layer of extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of a pan and add the vegetables in order of how long they take to cook. I always start with the onions, then toss in carrot slices, then add the beans, zucchini and eggplant.  Rats, Jack hates eggplant – he puts it in the ‘tofu category’.  Don’t tell him that the perfectly formed cubes are eggplant.  I toss in so little salt that it doesn’t count and add a handful of crushed fennel seeds.  Note:  No added liquid like that can of  squashed tomatoes that I used to use.  The vegetables do have enough liquid to create their own sauce.  Also, I’m the only one that seems to add carrots to the mix. Yummy.

I can not tell too many lies – I often still add ground meat to the onions and when it is brown add the vegetables.  I also often dice up fresh tomatoes and toss them in too.

Carmella’s Spaghetti with Zucchini and Zucchini Flowers

When cousin Carmella sends me a “WhatsApp” text that says –Venite a pranza oggi?   I always quickly respond with a SI!  Carmella is a world class cook and lunch at her house might be the simplest of ingredients but they are always tossed together delectably.  Check out Carmella’s cooking on her Facebook Page A Pranza dalla Nonna.

Today we had another variation on the zucchini theme, Spaghetti with Zucchini and Zucchini Flowers.  Fresh, local ingredients easily tossed together and delicious.  Zucchini flowers, zucchini, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt, hot pepper, spaghetti and pecorino cheese round out the list of ingredients. (You lucky New Jerseyans who belong to a CSA like Hillsborough’s fabulous Martenette Farms have access to lots of zucchini and zucchini flowers this time of year.)

As I was slowing chewing my spaghetti, I asked Carmella her secret.  Simplicity is the secret.  She cut the flowers into little pieces.  They added great orange color to the pasta.  A few cloves of garlic were chopped and after cutting a zucchini in quarters it was thinly sliced.  She put a walloping helping of olive oil in the pan – it thickly covered the pan – and added the garlic.  She let that sizzle for a second and then added the zucchini and flowers.  Next came a tazzino – espresso cup of water – or two fingers in a Nutella glass – and salt.  The veggies cook until the water has evaporated and then they sauté for a couple of minutes more.

At this point the salted spaghetti water should also be on the stove.  Cook the spaghetti as you normally would.   When the pasta is done, drain it and add it directly to the pot that has the oil and sautéed zucchini.  Carmella said, saltare in patella.  Toss it and let it cook a wee pit in the pan.  At this point she also added a hint of hot pepper and freshly grated pecorino cheese.

That was our primo piatto!  Zucchini heaven!

(Carmella is one of the cooks who opens her home for the Cooking in the Kitchens of Pontelandolfo program.  Interested? Message me.)

Ci vediamo

Midge

 

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Cooking in the Kitchens of Pontelandolfo II

Saturday, September 3 to Saturday, September 10, 2016

Join us for the Second Session of Cooking in the Kitchens of Pontelandolfo

The May 2016 cooking classes were a smash hit.  The Pontelandolfo women who lovingly opened their homes to American women this spring want to do it again!  They hope women from all over the world will come to love their little village.  Don’t think about it – just come and live the life of a Southern Italian.

The May video says it all better than I can –

Included Highlights:

  • Transportation from the Benevento Train Station to Pontelandolfo
  • 7 nights, single room, with television, refrigerator, morning caffè and coronetto. Five rooms in this cute B&B have private baths.  A two room suite share a bath.  Il Castello
  • Welcoming apertivo and snacks in a local bar. All the cooks will be there!
  • Sunday Pranza (lunch)
  • 5 Cooking Classes with local cooks culminating in eating with the families. Each pranza is complete with first and second courses, local wine, dessert, after dinner drink, coffee and conversation!
  • English Speaking Translator for all classes and events.  Translators in other languages can be made available for a group of 5 or more.
  • Wine and artesian food tasting at a local vintner
  • Pontelandolfo Day – open air market, tasting of locally produced products and other activities.
  • Excursion to Altilia Roman Ruins   http://www.sepino-altilia.it/
  • Walking Tour of Historical Pontelandolfo – http://www.pontelandolfo1861.it/
  • Excursion to the museums and shops of Benevento
  • Transportation to a different local restaurant each night.
  • Apron
  • Written recipes in English. (If a group is not English speaking other translations can be arranged.)

This culinary adventure is limited to 10 people.  We have a 5-person minimum.

This adventure wouldn’t happen without the commitment and support of Pontelandolfo Città Martire Associazione Culturale and il Sindaco Gianfranco Rinaldi.

Air Emirates has had some terrific sales from JFK – New York to Milan!  We booked last year two seats for $900 – $450 a piece!  Keep an eye on their sales.

Air Meridiana flies from JFK directly to Naples!  It is relatively inexpensive.

Contact me via the comments section for particulars and with any questions, thoughts or just to say hi.

Ci Vediamo!

Categories: Any Day in Pontelandolfo, Food - Eating In and Out! | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cooking in the Kitchens of Pontelandolfo a HIT!!!!

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Mary, Leona, Ellie, Lynn, Dana, Flora, Charleen and Nancy
Cook in the Kitchen’s of Pontelandolfo!

WOW what a jam packed week of great food, incredible women and a village that opened its hearts and buildings to embrace the Americans who came to Cook in the Kitchen’s of Pontelandolfo! The families that opened their kitchens loved the experience so much that we are going to offer the program again this September.

I had this fantasy that every night I would regale you with the tales of what happened that day.  Who the women were, what we learned how to cook, what we ate, what, what, what….  Sigh…. I tried, I really did but at the end of the day all I could do was crawl into bed and get ready for the next day’s adventure.  Oooo – how could you think I didn’t try – look here is a couple of paragraphs on Day 1!

Le Donne Vengono Oggi

Hotel ready – check!  Wait – will they be hungry?
Rosella remembered that if people were coming at 1:00 PM they would need lunch. We raced to Il Forno and bought panini and cookies. Then on to the fruit and vegetable truck for tons of fresh fruit. Then on to the the Mini Market for water, plates and napkins. Then on to the B&B – for – for – Waiting.  We set up our welcome table and our swag bags and waited.  The five women from Rome didn’t get here when we thought they would. Jack and one of our translators, Annarita were sitting in front of Bar Elimar to flag them down. I was afraid they would be drunk by the time the women came.  Rats – it is 2:00 PM – where are they?   2:10 – Jack called – they are here!

What a great group of women! An extended family full of love, laughter and spark. We got folks settled in their rooms making sure that Mary – the groups catalyst – had a great room with the mountain view. Within minutes she had posted the view on Facebook. Yes!


Nicola had taken our slick 9 passenger Ducati Fiat plumino to Benevento. He was waiting for the two women from Milan via Naples. My stomach was in knots hoping that they made their connection in Naples – I’m guessing since they only had 20 minutes that their stomachs were in knots too. Rossella was calm. I was pretending to be calm. Finally, I got a text. They are here! Then I got a call – we are in a bar waiting for the passenger from Firenze via Rome.

Meanwhile, I did my dancing bear act and reviewed the agenda with the first group – encouraged them to eat the fruit, cookies and sandwiches – even though they had stopped on the highway. Rosella said I was very professional!

That is all I wrote in 16 days!  Me who is the blabber blogger only wrote a measly few words.  What I did do was shoot lots of video on my fancy HD video camera, scribbled frantic notes during every cooking lesson and made sure that the eight adventurous American women who wanted to live the life of a small Southern Italian village had a great time.  I promise that recipes will be posted, videos will be edited and you will all know more about this glorious week.  Here is a quick little video that highlights our wonderful First – Cooking in the Kitchens of Pontelandolfo week. (There is more to read after the video.)    Click Here For Video

Stolen from the Pontelandolfo News who stole them from Facebook – are what some of the women said about the experience –

Dana got an “A” for best sausage making! We started out with a side of pork and culminated into a delicious meal!! Grazie Mille Franco and Maria for opening your home and hearts to us.

I am in awe learning how to roll dough for pasta. No words needed. Grazie Maria!

Each day our hearts are filled with the love of the women of Pontelandolfo. Today, group A spent the day with Carmela Fusco, who we knew we loved before we met her, because her daughters have been helping us all week. We made homemade cavatelli with a meat sauce, eggplant with fresh tomatoes, fruit salad and a beautiful nutella pastry! 

Today we made pizza in the brick oven with Nicola and tiramisu. He is a very special man and made our last day a perfect one. I think we were all a little tired today, but we still ended on a high note at his beautiful home. Grazie Mille Nicola!

Tonight we must say goodbye to all the wonderful people we’ve met.
Midge Guerrera has given us the opportunity to become a part of the beautiful town of Pontelandolfo for a week and we are forever grateful.

It has been an amazing week and anyone who has been following us should seriously consider coming when Midge offers this again. The village has embraced us with open arms and lots of fun.

Now, how could I not announce right here for the very first time – the Second Cooking in the Kitchens of Pontelandolfo adventure will be September 3 – 10 2016!  This fall – imagine Labor Day Weekend here in Pontelandolfo!  For information leave a comment.

Ci vediamo!


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Scarola!  Cardio! Cicoria! Yummy!

The yard outside our house was lush with miniature daisies, butter cups and enough edible greens to keep a large family happy for weeks.  Zia Vittoria stopped me as I hung out the laundry and wanted to know when Jack was going to cut the grass.  Since it was the first sunny day in a long week of grey, I guessed today!  About and hour later, Zia Vittoria appeared at my door with a huge cardboard box filled with greens – complete with globs of dirt on the roots.  Midgie – cucini oggi!  Che fa, I thought, not today, I have a bunch of stuff to do today.  I don’t want to clean stinking greens today.  Did I say that?  No, my mommy taught me better. I said thank you, pulled a chair out side, grabbed a knife, a large bowl  and started cutting off root balls.

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Truth – I didn’t have a clue as to what I was cleaning.  Somethings looked like the dandelions of my youths.  With my grandmother we would forage the lawns and fields around the house for dandelions.  Dandelions were a staple, made into salad, sautéed with onions and even made into an evil tasting wine.  Other greens looked like some kind of lettuce and just plain weeds.

Luckily, Nella, the local florist appeared.  I asked her what I was cutting and if we could really eat it all.   She looked at me like I was insanely stupid and said yes.  Then she patiently pointed out the scarola (endive family), cardio (cardoon – which I never heard of in English) and cicoria (chicory).  All edible, all rich in healthy minerals and vitamins.  Now I had no choice but to stop complaining about all the work I wasn’t getting too and become one with the harvest from the lawn.  OHMMMMMMM or is that LAAAAAWWWWN?

As I was shaking off the dirt, I remembered a young obnoxious mom who yelled at me years ago for telling her pre-schooler you could eat dandelions.  I had been picking the young greens out of our front lawn – now lawn is a misnomer.  It was a field of green stuff.  Lawn seeds, fertilizer – all that suburban anal lawn stuff – never made to my family’s Flagtown home.  For generations the green stuff was cut – whatever it was.  Anyway, this cute little tyke asked me what I was doing.  When I told her and she asked me why. I told her we eat the dandelions in salad.  I thought her mother was going to have a heart attack – or kill me. She told her daughter it was a lie and then told me that if her daughter got sick from eating the greens from her lawn it was my fault.  I calmly asked her why she put  murderous chemicals on her lawn?  What kind of mother lets her kids and dogs frolic on fields of chemicals?

Back to my more recent greens.  The greens reminded me of my grandmother, the family subsistence farm and my own roots.  Suddenly, the challenge of making something wonderful from the greens became the day’s calling.  First step – triple wash them.  I filled the sink with cold water and dumped the greens in.  Then I slowly stirred and picked out sticks, dead leaves and little critters.  Next the scolamacorone and a draining.  I cleaned the mud out of the deep sink and filled it with fresh water.  I broke up the leaves and tossed the hard veins before I put the greens in bath number two.  Muddy water swirled about the mixed greens.  Drain and rewash – cripes triple wash isn’t going to do it.  Five baths later, the water ran clean and all bugs were swimming down the drain.

Jack looked at the mountain of greens and remarked there were only two of us.  Great we will eat them today, tomorrow and the next day.  Day 1 the simple recipe.  Fry up a ton of cubed pancetta and onions, toss in ripped green blend, put on a lid and watch it shrink.  Quick toss, a hint of red pepper flakes and a healthy lunch is done.

Day 2 the still simple recipe. The next morning I partially cooked the dried white beans that I had left soaking the night before. A quick trip to Marcelleria Perugini yielded fresh sausage  and his incredible dried spicy sausages.  This greens, beans and sausage soup was equally easy to toss together.  All good things begin with thick slices of garlic, onions and fresh sausage sautéed.  Next came a pitcher full of water – and I hate to admit this but I love these – two porcini mushroom cubes.  We tossed in local mushrooms sliced and diced.  Next greens and beans entered the pot.  Simmer until hungry.

Grazie mille Zia Vittoria for the greens.  Grazie mille nonna for teaching us to forage for food and not put creepy chemicals anywhere on our property.

Ci Vediamo!

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Regole di Caffè – Coffee Rules

IMG_20130710_112337Hmmm, maybe I should really call this Coffee Etiquette or “How Not To Be An Obvious Tourist.”  We all know the adage – “When in Rome do as the Romans do.”  Well, we know it, we’ve heard it and we may have even spouted it, but do we do it????  Those silly ladies in tube tops and short shorts who want to see Italian Cathedrals don’t do it and sometimes – gulp – this is embarrassing – even the folks who come to see me here in this little Italian village don’t do it.  They don’t do as the Romans do – they want to drink cappuccino after lunch or dinner!!!!

In Italian restaurants, Jack and I giggle at people in the USA who order cappuccino after dinner. We know that Italians would never dare. That said, I still sometimes appear teary eyed at around 11:00 AM at Bar Elimar and in a soft, sad voice say to Marilina, “un cappuccino per favore.”  The other day I really got in trouble –

Midge, said my favorite barista, ora è mezzogiorno (noon) – no cappuccino per te!  It was time to review the rules. Marilina spouted them off –

  1. Capuccino is a breakfast drink. You do not drink it close to lunch. All that milk and primo piatto pasta do not mix! In Pontelandolofo no one orders a cappuccino after 10:30 A.M. I take that back – non-Italians do. This is not Starbucks country. It is a small village in Southern Italy with traditions that hearken back to the middle ages. Everyone here is shocked when I tell them that in the USA you can order a cappuccino anytime – even after dinner in an Italian restaurant. Try to order a cappuccino after dinner in a restaurant here and eyebrows will be raised, trays will drop to the floor, waiters will faint and diners will know you are an uninformed tourist.
  2. Caffé macchiato – that is a shot of espresso in a small cup with a small hit of steamed milk – is acceptable all day long. So I am thinking, why can’t you make me 4 of those and put them in a big cup???? “Midge,” says Jack, “don’t be a smart ass.”
  3. Caffé – espresso – is available 24/7!  Folks stand at the bar before work and shoot back that succulent cup of caffeine. It is drunk all the time – after pranza – lunch, after cena – dinner, after you hang the laundry, after a fight with your kids. Caffé is immediately offered when you go to visit someone. Caffé is king.
  4. Un po di acqua – A small glass of water – frizzante o naturale – is often served with that cup of coffee. Do not be surprised if it appears on the bar without you asking.
  5. Zucchero? Jack and I are part of the minority. We do not put sugar in our coffee. At a bar, this is not a problem because the sugar is in packets. Visiting a home the sugar issue can be a problem. After the coffee has steamed up to the top, people often put the sugar right in the two tiered coffee pot. Then it is poured from the pot into the cups. When someone offers us a coffee we always say immediately, grazie, senza zucchero.
  6. You do not – I repeat – Do NOT – order a fruit juice and a coffee together! One or IMG_0414the other. Your stomach will appreciate it. I will admit, I misbehave and have often done this – I really like succo di arancia rossa.  Maybe that is why I feel quesy ten minutes later.
  7. I love hearing this – “Hey do you have American Coffee?”  This is Italy dumb-nut! At the bars they say yes and add hot water to espresso in a big cup.  Ugggggg
  8. Caffè lungo is an espresso made with a tad more water – it still fits in the teeny, tiny cup.  Lots of folks order those and tell me they are just a little less strong.
  9. Before bed it is OK to drink hot chocolate, camomilla, or a cappuccino. Now the milk helps you sleep. Zzzzzzzz

There you go. A quick guide to how not to look like a tourist, enjoy coffee where the beans are ground just before it is made, stand at the bar and enjoy la dolce vita.

Ci Vediamo!

Categories: Food - Eating In and Out! | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

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