#286 I miss ammazzacaffè

Ammazzacaffè, literally ‘coffee killer’ is a little glass of liquor you have at the end of a meal, after the coffee, with which you “kill” your caffè.

Popular ammazzacaffè are Amaro (lit. ‘bitter’), an herbal digestif liquor, typically produced by macerating herbs, roots, flowers, citrus peels in alcohol, mixing the filtrate with sugar syrup. There are dozens of Amari, one of the most common is the Amaro Montenegro, named after Princess Elena Of Montenegro

In my top three: Limoncello, a sweet lemon liquor typical of Sorrento and the gulf of Napoli

Mirto, produced in Sardegna, obtained from the myrtle plant; Mirto rosso (‘red’) is made with the berries and is sweet, Mirto bianco (‘white’) is made from the leaves

Grappa ai mirtilli

Blueberries spirit, common in Northern Italy.




#180 I miss Italian creative scaramanzia – 4

Speaking of feste…

They say eating grape for Christmas porta fortuna e soldi (‘brings good luck and money’)

The same for lenticchie (lentils) for capodanno (‘new years eve’). In Abruzzo  they use to serve 7 soups made with 7 different legumes.

Frutta secca (‘dried fruits’) like nuts, figs, dates… will bring prosperity

normally we eat frutta secca at the end of the meal, before or after coffee.

Make sure to sit down while you have your coffee, or you will become poor!

(See also “I miss Italian creative scaramanzia – 1-2-3″  https://misshome.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/150-i-miss-italian-creative-scaramanzie-1/


https://misshome.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/158-i-miss-italian-creative-scaramanzia-3/ )

#162 I miss Italian Christmas carols -1

Every year Italy is submerged by a wave of canzoni natalizie, bambini e vecchietti sorridenti e buonismo di stagione (‘Christmans songs, smiling grannies and kids, and season cheeseness’)

Bambini, bambini everywhere, any commercial, poster, song…

Here’s a perfect example of a blend  of pandoro, canzoni natalizie, buoni sentimenti, generosità, vecchietti e bambini sorridenti, (‘pandoro, Christmas songs, good feeling, generosity, smiling grannies and kids’) in a single 30 seconds long spot:

(And here’s the original song A Natale puoi ‘At Christmas time you can’ with lyrics 


here’s another good one:

But the big classic, the Christmas song of all Christmas Songs in Italy is definitely Tu scendi dalle stelle


interpreted by Alex Baroni (1966-2002)

but the original version is the one played with the zampogna

#121 I miss Italian food leftovers recycle – 4

And speaking of colazione

…all dessert leftovers become an excellent breakfast the day after.

Panettone is the typical Italian Christmas cake…

it is also a very popular Christmas gift, you bring one at any dinner party you are invited on December…

people always buy dozens of panettoni starting from the end of November…

…As a consequence it always become a perfect breakfast leftover food from January on!


See also “I miss Italian food leftovers recycle 1 – 2 -3″



https://misshome.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/103-i-miss-italian-food-leftovers-recycle-3/ )

#120 I miss colazione a casa

Many Italians are biased on savory food for breakfast, and think that this is not part of Italian tradition.

But this is not true.

My grandfather always had a fresh egg for breakfast

Sweets, especially industrially produced cookies and pastries, has been introduced in Italian tradition only very recently. In the 70s I would say. Before that nobody bought sweets or other breakfast foods.

Coffee and sugar were very expensive people bought them only in very special occasion. Tea was not very common, especially in rural areas and in the countryside.

For colazione people had latte 

or caffè d’orzo, not actual coffee but a hot beverage made with toasted barley

or caffelatte the homemade version of cappuccino, prepared with milk and coffee or milk and orzo. Many people (especially the elders) still today use orzo for cafellatte, because is cheaper than coffee.

Caffelatte is traditionally served in a bowl rather that in a cup

With latte, caffelatte or orzo, people had pane.

Simple, plain bread, leftovers bread from the previous day

With some jam or honey or butter, if you were very lucky.

More recently fette biscottate, and biscotti became typical

big classic among biscotti (‘biscuits’) for colazione are:

‘Oro Saiwa’, that in my family, for some reason, were called Marie (yes, the plural of Maria)

and Bucaneve (‘snowdrop’)

And of course coffee prepared with the napoletana

or the classic moka

#119 I miss colazione al bar

Many tourists don’t appreciate italian breakfast when they visit Italy, because in their countries breakfast is a full meal, that includes more courses, savory and sweet.

Many Italians cannot accept the idea of eating savory food for breakfast; normally when they travel abroad they complain about food and coffee all the time. But at the same time they are often intrigued from “exotic” breakfasts.

I am a weird Italian: I like savory food for breakfast and (even) american coffee.

Ma la colazione italiana ha il suo fascino.

(‘but italian breakfast has its charm’)

Basically you have two options: colazione al bar o a casa (‘going out for breakfast or  having it at home’).

Al bar (that in Italian means both ‘bar’ and ‘coffee shop’)

you normally have caffè, cappuccino, latte (that in Italian just means ‘milk’) or (‘tea’), and/or  succo di frutta (‘juice’, not necessarily orange. Most popular: apricot, peach, pear, pineapple, orange, grapefruit… apple is not very common) or spremuta (fresh squeezed orange juice).

And something like…

cornetto filled with jam, cream, chocolate…

a variety of paste (‘pastries’)

filled with apple, rice and curd, raisins, nutella…

or bombolone, the italian version of donut

plain or con la crema, with curd

(To be continued)

(See also “I miss caffè” https://misshome.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/6-i-miss-caffe/

“I miss granita siciliana” https://misshome.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/i-miss-granita-siciliana/ )

#107 I miss Italian hot beverages – 3

In my family punch is the typical after lunch at Christmas time.

We can have either ponce al mandarino or ponce al rum.

Ponce al rum is a mix of coffee and rum, with sugar and orange peel.

But please don’t say that to someone from Livorno.

In Livorno, ponce, is a religion. Historically, it was inspired by the punch, very popular among the British community living there in the XIX century. But don’t say that to them.

Ponce alla livornese, is a hot beverage made with coffee, rum, or rather rumme [‘ru:mme] in livornese  and other liquors.

(See also “I miss Italian hot beverages 1 – 2”


https://misshome.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/104-i-miss-italian-hot-beverages-2/ )