Dolce Far Niente

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This only happens to me in Italy. I’ve tried to practice it here in the US, but it doesn’t work. There is always something do. There are things to do in Italy too, but somehow, they aren’t so important. What is more important is sitting with a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine and just enjoying the moment.

Can’t wait to be back!

Italy – My Sleep Potion

dsc03515Sunday morning means sitting in front of my laptop paying bills. (It has to be done)

It also means blogging and working on my next book. Love doing that, wish I didn’t have to work, and could do it full-time, but bills have to be paid.

I’m sipping my second cappuccino (daren’t have more than two or I won’t sleep tonight), and thinking of Italy. It’s over a year since our last trip and less than a year before our next one. Can’t wait! Looking forward to retirement and wintering in Italy. Oh that will be so much fun. Wish I could have afforded it earlier in my life, or wish I could afford to retire now. Good things are worth waiting for though.

It also occurred to me, that when in Italy, I can drink as many cappuccino’s as I want, without causing sleep issues. Never after midday of course, that’s just not good etiquette! I wonder if I can get my doctor to write a prescription for me to retire early and live in Italy, isn’t it her job to heal my insomnia?

Colorado, my home

I love to travel! So many places to see, people to meet, wines to taste and things to do, but starting the day with a cappuccino on my own deck is pretty special too! Colorado, my home. DSC04354

Cappuccino and the Rooftops of Rome!

DSC02995Thou shalt only drink cappuccino or any milky form of coffee in the morning, and never after a meal.

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The first time I tasted Cappuccino was in the early seventies. My mum and crazy aunt took me to Italy, Rimini to be precise. It was one of those package tours that were so popular in England back then. We stayed in the Hotel President, by Piazza Tripoli and just a couple of blocks from the beach. I’d dreamed of visiting Italy for as long as I can remember. Not sure why, but it was (and still is an obsession) of mine.

I’m at home in italy, it soothes my soul.

Now, even though I live in the US, I return as often as possible and have travelled from north to south. I have favorite cities and towns of course. Breakfast at Hotel Vittorio on the banks of Lake Garda is wonderful. An ice-cold glass of champagne overlooking the Amalfi Coast in the Beautiful Hotel Villa Maria is heavenly. Tasting wine at one of the many Tuscan Vineyards with good friends is amazing.

However, one of the most exciting, exhilarating places to drink Cappuccino, is on the rooftop of the beautiful Marriott Hotel ‘Grand Flora’ at the top of Via Veneto in Rome! One cup is not enough as you sit and anticipate the day ahead. I never tire of it and I never will.

 

Cappuccino – All about the Microbubbles

I only drink cappuccino, nothing else hits the spot. I must have at least one cup every morning. There’s nothing better than breakfast in Italy washed down with a huge foamy cappuccino. Unfortunately I don’t live in Italy so I have to make my own. For the last ten years or so we’ve had a La Pavoni coffee maker. The first one was the Romantica.

RomanticaThis wonderful machine produced excellent cappuccino time and time again without letting me down. When I had my kitchen remodelled, I went for the stainless steel look and of course this beautiful machine didn’t match my new decor. My daughter inherited it. When I visit her house I look at it longingly.

We replaced it with a stainless steel Pavoni.

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A beautiful coffee maker, and at first it made beautiful coffee, until June 2013. Then it became temperamental. For a couple of months it simply refused to make microbubbles. We all know a good cup of cappuccino is dependent on the microbubbles. We replaced parts, took it apart, put it back together, tried everything to make the damn thing consistent. It would make perfect cappuccino for a month or so, and then for no reason, the pressure went crazy and it was impossible to get a lovely frothy top.

It has been consistent in its inconsistency for over two years now and I’m ready to invest in a new machine. The problem is, every time I throw up my hands and say “that’s it, I’m getting a new coffee maker,” it works again. I guess all the best things in life are temperamental. Italian cars, Latin men, and now apparently, Italian coffee machines.

Anyone got any advice for me?

La Pavoni – My Temperamental Italian

I’m on my second La Pavoni coffee maker. My daughter inherited the first one, a beautiful brass plated machine. Its a work of art. The one I have now is stainless steel, I changed it to fit in with my new kitchen. I bought this one in 2010, they last forever, and they make the BEST cappuccino and espresso in the world, but boy are they temperamental. It stands to reason, they’re Italian. I had a couple of Alfa Romeo cars when I was younger. Same issue, fantastic, but only when they felt like it. For me, the only coffee worth drinking, is cappuccino. That means froth, micro bubbles to be exact. When we first got this particular machine, you just stuck the nozzle in the milk and hey presto, micro bubbles. Well now its older and likes to do its own thing, which means I have to play along with it. 

Instead of just thrusting the nozzle into  the milk any old way, I have to judge the mood of the machine.

Sometimes the nozzle needs to be gently placed half in and half out of the side of the milk, with the container tilted back.

Next I listen to the noise the pressure makes as the hot steam blows into the milk, and adjust it to get it just right for micro bubbles.

The milk has to swirl around the container at a certain speed before the bubbles form.

There is no doubt that La Pavoni makes the best coffee in the world, but just like the beloved Italian (men) it does its own thing and its mood changes at will. Wait a minute, it sounds just like my husband…..but he’s Jamaican!

My first  La Pavoni

My first La Pavoni

 

My current Pavoni

My current Pavoni

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at these beautiful machines, who wouldn’t want one. Its a classic Italian espresso/cappuccino maker, and like everything Italian, stylish and beautiful…..and very TEMPERAMENTAL.