Italian Espresso # 3
Well, I am here. In Lecce. The most quaint, glorious, Italian town I have ever experienced. Yes, I know this is the first time I have ever been to this country but I am still gonna stand by a statement like that. Lecce is everything I ever fanaticized an Italian town along the coast would be. The friendly locals, the delicious simple and rustic cuisine, the landscape, the vino and the…the…the ESPRESSO! My mornings are no longer starting off with a cup of green tea. Now, I am starting my morning off with a bang. This is some good shit people.
Now, the espresso over here is totally different than in the states. Even the imported stuff doesn’t compare. I was talking to a local today about that and she says it has to do with the water here, which is loaded minerals and especially has lots of iron. She said it balances the acidity in the espresso. Does it ever. It's divine, smooth, bitter, perfectly astringent and most importantly, hasn’t induced the crazy cracked out feeling that I often get when I drink the stuff back home. This espresso awakens the perfect amount of bounce. A warm Italian embrace to get your day started out right.
It’s such a lovely part of the community morning ritual as well. Much different to our American ‘get a coffee to go’ culture. Here, they all greet each other with a "ciao" and a "buongiorno". Then they drink their espresso of choice while still standing next to each other at the bar chatting about life. Enjoying their espresso instead of rushing to work. Such a wonderful way to begin the day, savoring the warm goodness in your porcelain cup and life with your fellow men and women.
I have taken a particular liking to a very delicious local Leccese drink, Caffè ghiaccio di Mandorla, which is extremely popular in these hot summer months. It is a shot espresso on the rocks with special almond milk. This almond milk is unlike any other I have ever tasted. They make it by gently extracting the juice and the oil of the almond then add sugar so it becomes a cloudy thick not so sweet syrup. Nothing at all when I think of my version of almond milk. It has a very similar flavor of almond paste. Normally I don’t eat or rather drink sugar but - F-it I’m in - well, now, I’m in LECCE!