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The Best Italian Wine Region You’ve Never Heard Of

Thursday, November 29th, 2018 | BLOG | No Comments

The Best Italian Wine Region You’ve Never Heard Of
The world does not yet come to the Friuli region, and so much the better
The world is now discovering Friuli’s wines. It’s now widely understood that Italy’s finest white wines are produced here…that the region’s equidistance from the Austrian Alps to the north and the Adriatic Sea to the south has created a sunny and breezy micro-climate that conspires with the marlstone soil to yield grapes of astonishing fragrance and minerality.

Like a glass of Venica Pinot Grigio, the wines tremble on the tongue but are finally focused and persistent…a silver bullet to the palate, the very opposite of the buttery California Chardonnays Americans tend to associate with white wine. The label reads VENICA, the name of the producer, COLLIO…the word just below. Collio is a derivation of the Italian word for “hill” and the preeminent winegrowing district in the region just east of Venice, Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Drinking it is like taking the first bite into a ripe golden apple, piercingly tart. Are you even aware that there is any more east to go in Italy after Venice?

It happens that excellent red wines are also made here…particularly Merlots of surprising power and elegance…along with daring “orange wines” fermented in ceramic amphorae. Friuli wines evoke a place that remains as fresh and untrammeled as the region itself. The world still does not come to Friuli. No tourist buses, no guides with hoisted flags, no selfie sticks contaminate the region.

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How to order coffee in Italy

Monday, June 11th, 2018 | BLOG | No Comments

When coffee houses like Starbucks, first became popular in the United States, I had the worst time ordering exactly what I wanted as I was more familiar with these terms in Italy. I like Caffe Latte, but here I was getting something more like milk with American coffee, not expresso with hot milk, really bad stuff. In the USA, we ask for “latte”, but in Italy, that is simply “milk”, so if you don’t say “caffee latte”, you will just get a glass of milk.  

Reading a menu at an Italian coffee bar can feel like more than just a foreign language, it’s a glimpse into Italy’s culture and identity. Unlike American coffee, Caffè Italiano revolves solely around espresso and the different ways it can be served. Here’s an in-depth guide to your options for how to order your coffee like an Italian.

Coffee:

The Basic Caffè: A simple espresso. Though caffè means “coffee” in Italian, it isn’t your standard American coffee. If you’re unfamiliar with espressos, you’ll be getting a small cup of strong coffee served on a saucer with a spoon

Cappuccino: An espresso with steamed whole milk and foam, an Italian favorite typically served in a slightly larger cup than the espresso.

Caffè Latte: An espresso with hot milk, served in a glass. Remember to ask for “caffe latte” or you will end up with just a glass of milk!

Caffè Macchiato: An espresso with a bit of foamed milk on top. Macchiato means “marked” or “stained,” so it is an espresso “marked” with a little foamed milk.  

Latte Macchiato: A glass of steamed milk with a bit of espresso, or “marked” with a small amount of espresso. If you want a bit more espresso, like a double latte, order a dark version, or latte macchiato scuro.

 

More Than Milk

Caffè con Panna: An espresso topped with sweet, often fresh, whipped cream. This drink is especially for those who want a sweeter version of the caffè macchiato.

Caffè Corretto: An espresso with a drop of liquor. Popular choices are grappa, Sambuca, or cognac.

Caffè con Zucchero: An espresso with sugar added for you. Most bars have patrons add their own sugar from a packet or container at the bar.

 

Less Caffeinated 

Decaffeinato or Caffè Hag: A decaffeinated espresso. Hag is the largest producer of decaf coffee in Italy, so some bars will write their name on the menu instead of decaffeinato.

Caffè Lungo: A “long” espresso, when the barista allows the machine to pour water until the coffee is weak and bitter.

Caffè Americano: An espresso diluted with hot water, the closest drink to American filtered coffee you’ll find in an Italian bar.

Caffè Americano Decaffeinato: A decaf espresso diluted with hot water, the closest drink to American filtered decaf coffee.

Cold Coffee:

Caffè Shakerato: An espresso shaken with sugar and ice, typically served in a martini or cocktail glass. Some bars add chocolate syrup for an extra layer of sweetness.

Caffè Freddo: An espresso served iced or cold, typically served in a glass. If you order a caffè freddo alla vaniglia, you can add vanilla syrup or vanilla liquor to the mix.

Granita di Caffè: An espresso-flavored icy slush, typically with added sugar, almost like a coffee snow cone.

 

Regional Specialities:

Espresso in Naples typically comes with the sugar added. If you don’t like your coffee sweet, order un caffè sense zucchero. Try Caffè alla Nocciola, an espresso with froth and hazelnut cream, for a special local treat.

In Milan, coffee bars serve an upside-down cappuccino called a marocchino. Served in a served in a small glass sprinkled with cocoa powder a marocchino starts with a bottom layer of frothed milk and is finished off with a shot of espresso.

The Piemontese enjoy a traditional drink created from layers of dense hot cocoa, espresso and cream, called bicerìn.

 

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