Before we moved to Italy I could take or leave coffee. Maybe once a week I might pop into one of the well known coffee chains and have nothing more challenging than a latte. I would try espresso but I would always find it far too bitter and a flat white, especially on an empty stomach would make me shaky. So, on the whole, I would stick to tea.
We we have learnt a lot about Italian coffee “rules”. Cappuccino or latte is only taken first thing in the morning as lots of milk after eating is considered bad for the digestion. What we call espresso in England is referred to as “caffe lescio” which is always taken after lunch. Macchiato – espresso with a little foamed milk – appears to be popular morning and afternoon. All of our Italian friends will choose a bar serving Illy coffee over any other. They also tell us that, whilst Illy is their favourite to make at home, Lavazza is a very good, slightly cheaper alternative. My coffee taste is not developed enough to make a distinction but I am sure that this will come in time! Going out for coffee is not considered a treat as it is in England – it is simply a necessity of life. Whilst many will linger and chat over coffee, it common to see people walk into a cafe, order coffee, drink it standing at the bar, pay up an leave – all in less than five minutes!
In the eight months we have lived in Udine, my attitude to coffee has changed considerably. I look forward to my morning coffee ritual and miss it so much when I can’t have it! We often have breakfast in one of the many bars that you’re never far from in Italy. Immaculately clean and always busy, we are served cappuccino from a dainty cup and saucer. If we are at home, I make morning coffee in a moka and add warm milk. Being back in England last week made me realise just how much my taste has changed. My mum and dad’s coffee made in a cafetière (french press) just doesn’t taste strong enough anymore. As for the coffee chains, with their enormous buckets weak, milky fluid, they were so disappointing on our previous trip back that we didn’t even bother this time!
In in the middle of what is quite clearly my descent into coffee obsession, it seemed appropriate that I also finished my coffee commission. Whilst I was in London, I mounted the work and posted it off to my friend in Madrid.
I really enjoyed the discipline of having to try and realise someone else’s vision. I was so happy with how the moka pot turned out as the little cross stitch design I had done up until then had been very simple. I enjoyed creating a shape by using different shades of one colour.
I have been working on lots of new ideas this week so I think maybe my cross stitch confidence is growing….nearly as much as my love for coffee!