Il caffé per iniziare bene la prima giornata di ottobre: In October, you notice the onset of autumn in Venice. With morning haze taking longer to dissolve. This makes for mother-of-pearl shimmer. Sun rays filtering through. Chances are there’s a soft grey fog cover, high above, strong enough to block out the sun. Only at noon can you make out a strange halo on the other side of the foggy roof.
Crisp mornings make you long for a pick-me-up when you leave the house early. The International Coffee Day is an opportunity, coming at the right time. It could have been invented in Venice – the luxury of drinking finest coffee is taken for granted here, every day. On the wholesale level, coffee producers are supported by various sustainability initiatives like you find in other parts of the world. On the retail level, it’s the Venetian baristi that are capable of working wonders with coffee.
It’s part of your way to work or before shopping for groceries. I have three favorites where you could try your October morning coffee. As a gift for you, I’m preparing an e-folder on how to prepare coffee the Venetian manner. If done in the right way, there are many health benefits too – enhanced by spice ingredients.
The secrets of making good coffee are choosing the right tostatura (roast), acqua (water quality) and pressione (pressure) of your caffettiera (coffee maker). You can see a range of caffettiere, as they are used in Venetian households, in the picture above. In autumn, my grandmother loves flavoring her coffee with a sapient mix of spices. They work like a natural booster of the immune system.
You can read more about it in my new ebooklet, which you can download as a free gift by clicking on the book cover on the left. With 3 coffee recipes from Venice, a little coffee dictionary, and a few more surprises.
Venetians also make coffee liquor liquore al caffé – also the famous liquor you can buy at Caffé Florian, is based on it. And torta soffice al caffé – a soft ricotta cheese cake, flavored with vanilla, coffee and star anise.
For now, celebrate the International Coffee Day virtually by looking at the pictures I took in three different, favorite pastry stores in Venice.
Pasticceria Chiusso’s, practically ALL clients enjoy their morning cappuccino in a leisurely manner, in the newly styled – that is, restored – pastry store. You are served cornetti filled and glazed with the staple apricot jam. There’s the specialty of the house, though: Cornettto ripieno di marzapane e marmellata di mele – Apple jam-marzipan filled cornetti. You can see mine in the picture to the right.
Pasticceria Bonifacio as many Venetians, disembarking from the vaporetti, take that little calle leading from Riva degli Schiavoni to Campo SS Filipo e Giacomo. At the same time, grandfathers will stop here for a strawberry-jam filled butter cornetto – and a cappuccino as well. In my case, I tried the almond-pistachio-pine nut biscuit you can see below. I guess this is the Venetian style sweet muesli bar.
When the weather is hazy like today, with exactly the foggy mood you can see below, it’s fine to go out for a walk. You could also sit outside for breakfast, for sure. In Venice, there’s a chic place connected to celebrating Coffee Days – it’s Caffé della Serra. Here, you can engage in the beautiful custom of Caffé Sospeso. From Naples, this tradition soon spread to other parts of Italy and the world. In Venice, when you pay at the counter of Caffé della Serra, simply say what you ate and drank, and add, “più un caffé sospeso”.
That means, whenever a person comes in who can’t afford coffee for whatever reason, they can claim that coffee. In that manner, a bit of “quality in life” can be given by pre-paying a coffee for another person. By the way – the pastries served here come from the oldest bakery on Burano – Palmisano – very delicious.0