Breakfast is the most important meal of the day...that's the concept we are used to in North America at least. Start your day with a healthy, well balanced, protein and vitamin-rich meal and you are off to a great start. A boiled egg, piece of toast, some fruit and you're golden.
Well there's a different school of thought in Italy. Here, breakfast consists of a pastry and a coffee. By coffee, I mean specifically espresso, although there are other ways you can get it.
Espresso is a drink for any time of day, it's served at cafés and bars alike. Friends meet for a café which could last for hours or maybe you have one while on the go, which means you will enjoy your hot beverage while standing at a bar for about ten minutes. Many cafe bars do not even have to-go cups for hot beverages- definitely a far cry from what we are used to in the land of Tim Horton's and Starbucks.
Needless to say, drive throughs are non-existent here... though there are walk up cigarette vending machines...but that's a different topic altogether.
So what's for breakfast on the daily? Croissants- either with powdered sugar or filled with Nutella, pastries, muffins, yogurt and perhaps some fruit. I must admit I enjoyed it for the first few days and then had to ask for plain toast...a request I came to find was common place from tourists who are probably not used to so many sweets early in the morning.
What I did love was the glorious fresh coffee which has probably ruined me forever as I'll never be ok with the drive-through establishments after this.
The variety here is also vast and delicious.
Cappuccinos are customarily reserved for mornings as locals believe after they've eaten tomatoes, fish or other lunchtime foods, they should abstain from milky drinks. What I did find was acceptable after lunch was a macchiato. Not to be confused with what we can get at Starbucks, a macchiato here means an espresso that is "stained" with milk....meaning with just a little.
Espresso is great for any time of day and serves as a quick pick me up. Although I didn't dare to try it- sleep is far too precious to me- Italians also famously end their evening and nighttime meals with an espresso.
I'll have to let you know what sweet delicacies accompany that end of the meal espresso, in another post.