Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cappuccino in Naples

The Espresso Break: Some claim that Domenico Barbaja invented the cappuccino.  While far-fetched, we do know that the name stems from the Order of Capuchin Friars who broke away in 1520 from the Catholic Church, considering the Church lifestyle too opulent.  Under Matteo da Boscio they created their own sect in the Marche region.  The order spread and by 1538 a group of nuns, known as the Sisters of Suffering, founded a cloister in Naples.  

The friars wore brown robes and white hoods called capuccio.  When the beverage was invented, a man like Domenico Barbaja who loved expletives, gambling, and the high life might not have wanted his drink to sound so... austere.

Whatever the truth, the Neapolitans do have their cappuccino.  They drink the beverage only until 11 o'clock.  Cappuccino is served in a porcelain teacup with milk that is frothed silky, not foamy.  Food here is simple, so for goodness sakes don't make any heart, leaf, or elephant decorations on top!  

Italians also don't eat breakfast.  Instead, they choose from an assortment of pastries to eat at the counter along with their cappuccino.  The most common are:

Cornetto: croissants either plain or filled with cream or chocolate.

La Grafa or La Bomba: La bomba is also a colloquial expression meaning something fantastic. This is a large donut covered on both sides with granulated sugar.

Brioche: often warmed, this is sweet bread that is round and has a small cap on the top.

And finally, the Neapolitan original pastry, rarely made at home due to the intensity needed to bake – the sfogiatelle: made from layers of thin dough, the inside is filled with ricotta cheese perfumed with vanilla beans and orange rinds. The sfogiatelle are baked until the many layers of dough turn a golden crispy brown.

And there you have the art of drinking cappuccino in Naples!


Gil said...

You saved my favorite for last! No I am hungry..

KC said...

Is the bomba a graf with nutella in it, or is it just another word for graf? Either way, I love them! Can't stand sfogliatelle though. (I have not confessed that to my Neapolitan husband yet.)

Barbara said...

Hold onto your hats, Gil. Tomorrow is the last of my breakfast series and I'm hoping you like the drink. :)

KC -- The Bomba and the Grafa are the same thing. They can be vuoto or filled with chocolate, but I usually get it vuoto. And LOL! I've never known anyone who would admit to not liking the sfogliatelle. I'm impressed that you came out with it. Shshshshs. Truth be told, I'm not a big fan of Italian cuisine at all. I prefer California-Asian fusion, but to be in Naples is to force myself appreciate the food. I did the same in Prague when I ate balefuls of knedlicky just to make friends with the locals. :)

Barbara said...
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