Breakfast in Italy is a grown-up, fancy, extended version of sugared cereal from childhood. But way, way better.
The typical Italian breakfast is rather light and nearly exclusively sugar based. Cakes and pastries abound. With a bit of bread, meat, and cheese thrown in the mix.
I had read that hotel breakfasts in Italy left much to be desired, but those travel writers did not stay at the Palazzo Dragoni! The Palazzo Dragoni has amazing breakfasts! Patrizia bakes the most fabulous cakes and pastries and if you are lucky enough to stay for several days you will find something new each morning. And her smiling face and “buon giorno” each morning with your coffee will start your day off right. (Patrizia and Alfredo are amazing hosts) — All breakfast photos in this post are from the Palazzo Dragoni.
The following is from the culture section of one of my Italian lessons, italianpod101.com:
The one thing that is always present is coffee, in all its possible variations. Italian coffee is much more concentrated and strong than the American one and the portion corresponds to about half a small cup.
The first difference is between espresso, made in a bar with the espresso machine, and the moka or napoletano, the one usually served in people’s homes and prepared with small kettles.
Many people like coffee even more concentrated and so order it ristretto (condensed, shrunk), other people like to savor it less strong and so prefer the lungo (long), that in any case is served in a small cup.
Coffee can then be macchiato (spotted), if you add a dash of milk, or corretto (laced) when you add some liquor (usually sambuca or grappa).
If in the little cup you find a chocolate or a real coffee bean, then you are drinking it con la mosca (lit. with the fly). If instead you put some cocoa powder in your expresso, you’ll have a marocchino.
You can then find all the regional variations. In Rome you can find the caffè al vetro, that is served in a small glass instead of the usual small cup.
Together with their daily coffee, Italians are used to eat brioche, croissant, pastries and the simple bread, butter and jam.
I was a bit worried about enjoying coffee in Italy, because I like mine sweet and not too strong. Cappuccino was amazing, and I added a bit of zucchero (sugar). Cappuccino should only be ordered with breakfast or before noon.
For a little un caffe (a coffee) break during the day, I liked to order un caffe lungo con panna (a coffee that is drawn longer, more water, with cream). A couple of packets of zucchero and it was perfect. But make sure you pronounce “panna” (PAH-nnah) and not “pane” (PAH-nay) (bread). I got a strange look once because the barista thought I wanted coffee and bread. I changed to “crema” and apologized for my Italian.
When you ask for “panna” with your coffee you will get the most delicious and generous dollop of cream that you have ever had in your life. Seriously. Think Cool Whip times a thousand.
I’m pretty hungry now, how about you?