Monday, May 25, 2009

Coffee fit for a Venetian

Ahhh, delicious Venetian coffee…Is it any wonder that coffee was first imported to Europe by Venetians? It was Prospero Alpino in the 17th century that brought it back with him from a trip to the East. I don’t just know this because of research- this was told to me over and over by my dad, who always loves a quick cup -especially after those great feast-like Sunday afternoon meals.

But back to some fun history…In the 18thc, coffee, along with chocolate, was given as a token of love and affection. Lovers reveled in this delicious aromatic delight, even though when it first became popular it was not immediately accepted by all. Religious authorities at first tried to ban the substance for fear that this hypnotically and sensual beverage would lead to promiscuity and misdemeanor…!Oh dear!

As the story goes, and it’s been passed on for centuries, (I myself grew up hearing this and have always thought it to be true…), it appears that Pope Clement VIII was under much pressure to have it banned because it was considered sinful. But fortunately (inquisitive man that he was), the Pope had the good sense to give it a try himself before giving coffee its final blessing. After a cup of coffee he concluded that the stuff was not only delicious (he had such fine taste)- it was also harmless. So the ruling was final: Coffee was in!

Back to Venetian coffee…I know that if you check for recipes, you’ll find tons of delectable concoctions such as coffee with amaretto, or brandy and whipped cream and more. In my grandmother’s house though, Venetian coffee meant something different. It has no liquor (sorry), but needs lots of sugar (sorry)…The result: a very creamy, sweet, frothy smooth and delicious beverage.

Here’s how to make one: This works best with a traditional Moca.

-In a small espresso cup add 2 teaspoons of sugar (more if you dare)

- As soon as you hear the coffee coming up (this is when the coffee is at its strongest), pour about 2 teaspoons over the sugar- then put the moca back on the burner to continue the coffee process.
- Meanwhile, start beating the sugar with a small spoon or fork until you get an extremely thick, creamy mixture (this takes a few minutes…patience required)

- Once the coffee comes up pour it into the cup, and Pronto! You have Rosina’s Venetian coffee.

For added flavour you can also add a teaspoon of cocoa to the sugar and coffee mixture and beat it all together. It’s simple; yet divine. Pope Clement would definitely approve.


Josephine tid-bit: This has nothing to do with Venice...but if you'd like to know... Josephine loved her coffee with chocolate in it. she enjoyed this with her Bonaparte, especially after he'd had a hard day (helped him calm his nerves).



Lucy said...


The Clever Pup said...

Makes me want to give up my tea habit.

Darlene said...

What a fabulous post! I love coffee and chocolate. The Venetian coffee sounds wonderful. I love my coffee with lots of cream and every once in a while I throw cocoa and sugar in it and it is scrumptious!

ceecee said...

Such a fascinating history! One of my favorite things about traveling in Europe is the coffee. In Spain I just couldn't wait to get up in the morning. I've yet to go to Venice, or Vienna and I know it will be like I died and went to coffee heaven.
How funny about our anniversaries, huh? A happy one to you and Mr. Greek!
Catherine xx

Lucy said...

Hi Clever Pup...that's my problem; I love tea even more than coffee!

Hey Dar- I like my coffee sweet and creamy, and this one skips the cream altogether while remaining so smooth-it's perfect!

Hi Catherine:) And I, have always wanted to go to Spain! ...anniversaries, Greeks...even more good things in common:) Thanks!

Eleonora Baldwin said...

Frothy "cremina" is to espresso what diamonds are to a girl. A perfect match.

Brava on posting this, I had no idea it was called Venetian coffee! Every Italian family whips it up on Sunday after the gargantuan lunch meal.

You rock, coffee girl!

Lucy said...

Hi Lola! Noi l'abbiamo sempre chiamato cosi' caffe' Veneto, oppure Veneziano...but I imagine that was just my granny giving herself credit;) You rock too!