Italians tend to make pretty bold statements about food. Where the BEST chocolate gelato is. Where NOT to buy prosciutto. The ONLY olive oil to serve with fish.
I have been spending a little time in Verona recently, and have a bold statement of my own to make.
The WORST cup of coffee in Italy is BETTER than the BEST cup of coffee in North America.
There. I said it.
At the company I visit in Vicenza, they have a little automatic coffee machine that makes better espresso than Starbucks. I kid you not. From a push button machine! Italians are masters when it comes to coffee. There are things (not many) that they are not good at. Take pastries for instance. Don’t waste a single calorie in Italy on a croissant, or what they call brioche. Save yourself for all the other delicious things like cheese, pasta, gelato….the list goes on and on. In France I’d dare say it’s almost impossible to get a really poor pastry. Even a croissant I had on a short Air France flight was head and shoulders above an Italian version. The French can keep their coffee. I’d even take a Tim’s any day over a coffee in France.
Espresso, cappuccino, macchiato….the Italians win time and again. The other day I was out for lunch with the Italians and I ordered a macchiato at the end of the meal. There was snickering. “This is not Venice!” One of them declared smugly. There seem to be all kinds of rules. What kind of coffee you start the day with. What you take after a meal. They take their coffee very seriously. Very.
If my theory, my big bold statement, holds true, imagine how good their BEST coffee is.
My hosts took me for the BEST cappuccino in Verona. To be clear, as they were and always are when it comes to food and what is best, this was not the best coffee in Verona, that is another matter. This was the BEST cappuccino in Verona.
Bauli is one of the largest exporters of Pannetone. Their offices are on the outskirts of the city, close to the highway – and lucky for me, on the way to Vicenza where we go to work each morning. In their building they have a café – operated by both Bauli and Pellini Top.
They open at 7am, and word has it they serve over 1000 cappucino’s before 10. The lineup is long – but the barrista and his assistant are brewing machines. You can be in and out in less than 10 minutes – fully caffeinated and ready for the day. Both mornings – I did not witness any coffee orders other than cappuccino – and one taste tells you why.
First – a single shot of exquisitely brewed Espresso Pellini Top – from 100% specially selected Arabica beans. Then, a super generous dusting of cocoa. Lastly – perfectly steamed whole milk – that’s allowed to rest before pouring – to avoid the dreaded over foamy cup. An impeccably skilled pour – resulting in a picture perfect cappuccino.
Creamy. Rich. Hint of bitterness. Reminiscent of cocoa. Much too small for a girl used to talls, and grandes, and never, ever under any circumstances served to go. But still…..the BEST cappuccino in Verona, and certainly of my life.