La Dolce Vita!

One of the lovely things for me about living or visiting a hot country (and they are a bit hotter at the moment!!), is having my breakfast outside! I love to sit in the early morning sun and look over the view, or people watch as they start their day and take my time over my breakfast, revelling in the gentle light and gathering my thoughts for the day.

My breakfast in England is different from the one I have in Italy, both in what I eat and how I eat it! In England it is a quick smoothie, usually in front of my computer, but in Italy it is a frothy cappuccino and a wonderful cornetto.

Eating breakfast here is an artform, as with most things in Italy, and mustn’t be taken at the gallop! This is all part of “la dolce vita”, “dolce far niente” (or pleasant idleness!) and of course, “la bella figura” - which is not just about looking good, it is a whole mindset which I will be delving into in a future edition of the magazine.

But going back to, in my opinion, the most important part of the breakfast - Il Cornetto!

It is called a cornetto in the south of Italy and a brioche in the north. They are made using the French technique of puff-pastry and is a variant on the croissant. The original cornetto started life as a Kipferl around 1683. They took the name of cornetto later, but the recipe was different from the modern type.

The kipfel was a typical Viennese dessert: a sweet and savoury specialty with a crescent shape. It seems that the kipfel came to Italy in 1683, during a period of commercial trade between the Republic of Venice and Vienna.

The cornetto vuoto (empty cornetto) is usually filled with crema pasticcera (custard), apricot jam or chocolate cream, and covered with powdered sugar or ground nuts or Nutella.

This, together with a cappuccino, is the most usual breakfast in Italy and more often than not taken standing at the counter of the local cafe, chatting with friends and neighbours and putting the world to rights!

I have never been able to make them at home - they never taste the same - and it isn’t something that is readily available in England, so when I am in Italy it is my special treat - which makes them all the more special!

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