29 January 2015

AUNTIE PASTA: The Most Important Meal

CHIAVARI, Italy - After an overnight train ride from Paris, Joe, Stephanie and I were starving when we arrived in Venice early in the morning. After we checked into our hotel the first thing we wanted to do was eat – preferably something that resembled breakfast. French food hadn’t particularly appealed to them, but Italian food they knew and they wanted some. Surely the Italians would have something delicious for the most important meal of the day.
 Breakfast Italian Style
 “I want pancakes Mom, even if it comes with a side of spaghetti,” said my daughter. “Me too,” said my son, “and a couple of sausages too.”

Thus began our unsuccessful adventure of breakfast hunting in Venice. There were plenty of bars but none of them advertised anything that resembled pancakes, let alone sausages or anything else that said breakfast to us. Then there it was, a bar with a sign that said “toast”.  We looked at each other and said, “okay, it’s not pancakes but if there’s toast they may have eggs, if they have eggs they may have sausage.”  It was definitely worth a try.

 Extra Flaky Sfogliatelle
The much anticipated “toast” turned out to be very thin, very flat, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. We ate them and ordered another round, raising more than a few eyebrows in the process. And so began our first lesson on breakfast in Italy.

Since then, I’ve come to appreciate, which doesn’t mean understand, Italian breakfasts. For a country that is so focused on fresh fruits and vegetables, cookies and milky coffee just doesn’t seem like a healthy way to start your day, but who am I to mess with tradition. So in the spirit of all things Italian, here is Italy’s prime food and wine magazine, Gambero Rosso’s list of the five top bars in Italy for the quintessential Italian breakfast, brioche/pastry and cappuccino.
 A Roman Speciality, Cream Filled Maritozzi
At the top of the Top 5 is Romoli Bar Pasticceria in Rome. This bar- bakery, located off of the Via Nomentana, has gladdened the hearts of Romans since 1952 when the founding family began churning out sweets, pastries and coffee. The stars of Romoli’s bakery are cream filled maritozzi, a typical Roman pastry. 
Caffe' San Marco, Trieste
In second place is one of Trieste’s historic bars, the Caffè San Marco. Among the specialties of the cafĂ©, as well as the city of Trieste, is a small shot glass of rich coffee served with hot milk and a lot of foam, called Capo in B. Capo, in this case, stands for cappuccino, while B is for bicchiere, which is “a glass” in Italian. When you put them together you get a tiny cappuccino in a tiny glass.
 Bar of the Year 2015 - Bedussi, Brescia
Next, in third position is Badussi, a bar/cafeteria in the northern city of Brescia.  Bedussi was chosen by Gambero Rosso as the Bar of the Year 2015. Given the stiff competition you can be sure the quality of the pastries, plus the wide selection of good things to eat that are served at this sleek and modern bar, are over the top. 

 Cozy Pave', Milano
Fourth place goes to the Milanese bar, Pave’. Pave’ has that clubby, comfortable living room feel the Milanese like. Pair that homey atmosphere with an outstanding selection of pastries and cappuccino that will knock your socks off, and it’s easy to see why Pave’ qualified to be on this best of Italy list.   

The Biggest Parrozzo in the World
Finally, the Top 5 finishes with Caprice of Pescara, a classic Abruzzese bar that has been around for 80 plus years. The star of their pastry show is called Presentosa, aka Parrozzo, a dome shaped butter cake made with almond flour and covered in chocolate, an Abruzzese specialty. But that’s not all. Caprice also makes baby parrozzi, and 20 other different types of chocolate delights.

1 comment:

  1. I take it this was during your first trip to Italy and the hotel you stayed at did not offer a breakfast? This is one of my favorite topics - breakfast in Italy. When friends (originally from Texas) travel with us they really miss not having eggs at breakfast. Some hotels who cater to German tourists do offer hard boiled eggs, as well as cheeses and meats. We have seen yogurt and cold cereal/muesli and a variety of jams. Have never seen pancakes or waffles though. LOL! Bacon, which is pancetta, is fantastic. I must say it was very typical of my mom to have just a donut and coffee for breakfast, something my Irish friend Patty thought was horrendous. They were NEVER allowed to have a sweet for breakfast.