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Coffee – The History
"This devil's drink is so good ... we should try to deceive him and baptize him." These words of Pope Clement VIII to some cardinals, who called the coffee a barbaric and demonic beverage, marked, for academics, the beginning of the spread of the drink throughout Italy. It was the early 1600s and, in every port and every Italian market, coffee beans were arriving from all over the world...
 
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Coffee – The History


" This devil's drink is so good ... we should try to deceive him and baptize him. " These words of Pope Clement VIII to some cardinals, who called the coffee a barbaric and demonic beverage, marked, for academics, the beginning of the spread of the drink throughout Italy. It was the early 1600s and, in every port and every Italian market, coffee beans were arriving from all over the world.


Unlike other cities of Italy and Europe, Napoli began to appreciate the bitter drink only at the beginning of 1800s. It was only then that the city was enriched by shouts of the colorful street coffee makers. Now disappeared, these street coffee makers ran through the city far and wide equipped with two containers, one filled with coffee and other with milk, and a basket with cups and sugar.


Naples and coffee live in symbiosis: a true Neapolitan cannot do without one and more cups of coffee throughout the day. He drinks coffee when he wakes up, at the bar in the morning, after lunch, in the afternoon to recover from the hours of work. It is a break that no one renounces to. It is a cult drink in the Neapolitan culinary scene and beyond. Musicians, authors, actors, painters have at least once in their lives have referred to it, eternalized in their works: 'a tazzulella' e café’


Some sayings:


- As with art it has to be prepared, so artfully has to be drunk.


- The coffee, to be good, must be black as night, hot as hell and sweet as love


- I do not have a problem with caffeine. I have a problem without caffeine!

Sfogliatella


History is almost never sweet. But every sweet has its own story. Sometimes laboriously reconstructed, in some cases shamelessly made up.


The history of sfogliatella belongs to the first category. About this typically Neapolitan sweet you can draw a precise toponymy. You read that right: toponymy, because the topos / place of the sfogliatella it is a monastery. That of Santa Rosa, on the Amalfi coast. In that sacred place they prayed a lot but, being a cloistered convent, you could not go anywhere, and there was plenty of free time! Part of it was spent in the kitchen, administered in a regime of strict autocracy: the nuns had their own gardens and their vineyards, so as to minimize contacts with the outside, and amplify those with the Lord. They even prepared the bread themselves, cooking it in the oven every two weeks. The menu was the same for all: only the older nuns could enjoy a special food: soup…


One day 400-years ago (we are in the 1600s) the nun officer noticed that in the kitchen a little semolina cooked in milk was left over. Throw it away? Never! And so, inspired from the High, the cook threw in a bit of dried fruit, sugar and lemon liquor. "It could be a filling," she said. But what could be put above and below?


Then she prepared two sheets of dough by adding lard and white wine, and settled the stuffing there in the middle. Then, since even in a convent the eye wants its joy, she held up a bit the top sheet, giving it the shape of a monk’s hood, and baked it all. The Mother Superior at first sniffed the baked pastry, and immediately after she sniffed the deal; this inspired and well-made pastry, could do good both to the farmers in the area and at the convent coffers. The seclusion was not endangered: the dessert was put on the classic wheel output. Provided that, of course, farmers had put into the wheel a few coins...


To this cake was given, inevitably, the name of the Saint who the convent was dedicated: Santarosa. It took about one hundred fifty years to travel the sixty kilometers between Amalfi and Naples. Here came in the first 800 thanks to the innkeeper Pasquale Pintauro. In 1818, Pasquale came into possession, by a way that has never been clarified, of the original recipe of the Santarosa. That year there were two conversions: Pintauro from landlord became pastry chef, and his inn was converted into a pastry shop.


Pintauro did not just spread the Santarosa: he modified it, eliminating the custard and black cherry, and suppressing the monk cap protuberance. The sfogliatella was born. His most famous variety, the so-called riccia ("curly") maintains since then its triangular shape, clamshell. Today you can enjoy the pastry all around Naples, with satisfaction. If you are looking for the excellence, the Pintauro shop is still there: it has changed management, but not the name and sign, and even the quality. Which it remains that of almost two hundred years ago.


A 'warning’: stunned by the smell of freshly baked puff pastry, now in your hands, do not bite it voraciously. The characteristic lamellar dough is warm, but the ricotta filling is really hot!

Pastiera


The Pastiera, albeit in rudimentary form, may have accompanied the pagan festivals celebrating the return of spring, during which the priestesses of Ceres, carried in procession the egg, symbol of new life. Wheat or barley, mixed with soft ricotta cream cheese, may derive from the spelt bread used during Roman wedding, precisely called "confarratio". Another hypothesis traces the origin back to the ritual buns that became widespread at the time of Constantine the Great, derived by the offer of milk and honey, that catechumens received in the holy night of Easter at the end of the baptismal ceremony.


In the current version, it was invented probably in the secret peace of a Neapolitan forgotten monastery. An unknown nun wanted that in that cake, symbol of the Resurrection, would combine the scent of orange blossoms of the monastery garden. To the white ricotta cheese, she mixed a handful of corn which buried in the brown earth germinates and rises like gold; then added the eggs, symbol of new life, the water of a thousand fragrant flowers like spring, citron and aromatic spices that came from Asia.


It is certain that the nuns of the ancient convent of San Gregorio Armeno were reputed teachers in the complex manipulation of Pastiera, and during Easter used to manufacture large numbers of this pie, addressed to the tables of the patrician mansions and the rich bourgeoisie.
Every good Neapolitan housewife holder is deemed authentic, or better, recipe of the Pastiera. There are, so to say, two schools: the oldest teaches simple ricotta mix with beaten eggs; the second, decidedly innovative, recommended to mix in a thick custard that makes it lighter and softer (innovation due to Mr. Starace, a milkman with a shop on the corner of Piazza Municipio, unfortunately no longer existing).

Caprese Cake


The Caprese cake was named after its place of origin, Capri. According to the legend, it was originated from an inadvertent creation of a pastry chef in 1920. "apparently a cook had forgotten to put flour in an almond cake that he was preparing for three American mobsters that came to Capri to buy a round of gaiters for Al Capone. The result was so good that the three Americans demanded the recipe. Di Fiore, who christened the cake with the name "Caprese," began baking it regularly, with a great and rapid success and with many followers. "

Pasticciotto


This cake was created in the eighteenth century by a pastry chef who, using the surplus of the mix of other pastries, and adding a bit of (custard) cream and sour cherries, decided to create a small cake in a copper saucepan. Contrary to expectations, the result was a big mess! However, the pastry chef decided to bake it anyway and, as soon as it was cooked and while still hot, he gave it to a passerby. The success was immediate: shortly thereafter Pasticciotto became the flagship of the Neapolitan pastry preparation.

Potato Gateau

They say the origins of this dish dates back to the period of the Bourbons domination, when in year 1768 Naples became a place of discussion for great European cuisines. The new queen, Maria Carolina, daughter of Maria Teresa Lorrain of Habsburg and Ferdinand I of Bourbon, introduced to the capital French cuisine, outsourcing the service kitchen to high-ranking chefs called “monzù” by the Neapolitans and “monsù” by the Sicilians, derivations of the French word "monsieur”.

 
Generally, it’s served hot but many prefer to eat it at room temperature in order to allow all of the ingredients “to rest” amalgamating in perfect harmony and releasing at the appropriate time an inimitable taste.


Its composition based on potatoes, meats, cheeses and sometimes vegetables, is so substantial as to be consumed as a main dish with high nutritional value.

 

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Coffee – The History


" This devil's drink is so good ... we should try to deceive him and baptize him. " These words of Pope Clement VIII to some cardinals, who called the coffee a barbaric and demonic beverage, marked, for academics, the beginning of the spread of the drink throughout Italy. It was the early 1600s and, in every port and every Italian market, coffee beans were arriving from all over the world.


Unlike other cities of Italy and Europe, Napoli began to appreciate the bitter drink only at the beginning of 1800s. It was only then that the city was enriched by shouts of the colorful street coffee makers. Now disappeared, these street coffee makers ran through the city far and wide equipped with two containers, one filled with coffee and other with milk, and a basket with cups and sugar.


Naples and coffee live in symbiosis: a true Neapolitan cannot do without one and more cups of coffee throughout the day. He drinks coffee when he wakes up, at the bar in the morning, after lunch, in the afternoon to recover from the hours of work. It is a break that no one renounces to. It is a cult drink in the Neapolitan culinary scene and beyond. Musicians, authors, actors, painters have at least once in their lives have referred to it, eternalized in their works: 'a tazzulella' e café’


Some sayings:


- As with art it has to be prepared, so artfully has to be drunk.


- The coffee, to be good, must be black as night, hot as hell and sweet as love


- I do not have a problem with caffeine. I have a problem without caffeine!

Sfogliatella


History is almost never sweet. But every sweet has its own story. Sometimes laboriously reconstructed, in some cases shamelessly made up.


The history of sfogliatella belongs to the first category. About this typically Neapolitan sweet you can draw a precise toponymy. You read that right: toponymy, because the topos / place of the sfogliatella it is a monastery. That of Santa Rosa, on the Amalfi coast. In that sacred place they prayed a lot but, being a cloistered convent, you could not go anywhere, and there was plenty of free time! Part of it was spent in the kitchen, administered in a regime of strict autocracy: the nuns had their own gardens and their vineyards, so as to minimize contacts with the outside, and amplify those with the Lord. They even prepared the bread themselves, cooking it in the oven every two weeks. The menu was the same for all: only the older nuns could enjoy a special food: soup…


One day 400-years ago (we are in the 1600s) the nun officer noticed that in the kitchen a little semolina cooked in milk was left over. Throw it away? Never! And so, inspired from the High, the cook threw in a bit of dried fruit, sugar and lemon liquor. "It could be a filling," she said. But what could be put above and below?


Then she prepared two sheets of dough by adding lard and white wine, and settled the stuffing there in the middle. Then, since even in a convent the eye wants its joy, she held up a bit the top sheet, giving it the shape of a monk’s hood, and baked it all. The Mother Superior at first sniffed the baked pastry, and immediately after she sniffed the deal; this inspired and well-made pastry, could do good both to the farmers in the area and at the convent coffers. The seclusion was not endangered: the dessert was put on the classic wheel output. Provided that, of course, farmers had put into the wheel a few coins...


To this cake was given, inevitably, the name of the Saint who the convent was dedicated: Santarosa. It took about one hundred fifty years to travel the sixty kilometers between Amalfi and Naples. Here came in the first 800 thanks to the innkeeper Pasquale Pintauro. In 1818, Pasquale came into possession, by a way that has never been clarified, of the original recipe of the Santarosa. That year there were two conversions: Pintauro from landlord became pastry chef, and his inn was converted into a pastry shop.


Pintauro did not just spread the Santarosa: he modified it, eliminating the custard and black cherry, and suppressing the monk cap protuberance. The sfogliatella was born. His most famous variety, the so-called riccia ("curly") maintains since then its triangular shape, clamshell. Today you can enjoy the pastry all around Naples, with satisfaction. If you are looking for the excellence, the Pintauro shop is still there: it has changed management, but not the name and sign, and even the quality. Which it remains that of almost two hundred years ago.


A 'warning’: stunned by the smell of freshly baked puff pastry, now in your hands, do not bite it voraciously. The characteristic lamellar dough is warm, but the ricotta filling is really hot!

Pastiera


The Pastiera, albeit in rudimentary form, may have accompanied the pagan festivals celebrating the return of spring, during which the priestesses of Ceres, carried in procession the egg, symbol of new life. Wheat or barley, mixed with soft ricotta cream cheese, may derive from the spelt bread used during Roman wedding, precisely called "confarratio". Another hypothesis traces the origin back to the ritual buns that became widespread at the time of Constantine the Great, derived by the offer of milk and honey, that catechumens received in the holy night of Easter at the end of the baptismal ceremony.


In the current version, it was invented probably in the secret peace of a Neapolitan forgotten monastery. An unknown nun wanted that in that cake, symbol of the Resurrection, would combine the scent of orange blossoms of the monastery garden. To the white ricotta cheese, she mixed a handful of corn which buried in the brown earth germinates and rises like gold; then added the eggs, symbol of new life, the water of a thousand fragrant flowers like spring, citron and aromatic spices that came from Asia.


It is certain that the nuns of the ancient convent of San Gregorio Armeno were reputed teachers in the complex manipulation of Pastiera, and during Easter used to manufacture large numbers of this pie, addressed to the tables of the patrician mansions and the rich bourgeoisie.
Every good Neapolitan housewife holder is deemed authentic, or better, recipe of the Pastiera. There are, so to say, two schools: the oldest teaches simple ricotta mix with beaten eggs; the second, decidedly innovative, recommended to mix in a thick custard that makes it lighter and softer (innovation due to Mr. Starace, a milkman with a shop on the corner of Piazza Municipio, unfortunately no longer existing).

Caprese Cake


The Caprese cake was named after its place of origin, Capri. According to the legend, it was originated from an inadvertent creation of a pastry chef in 1920. "apparently a cook had forgotten to put flour in an almond cake that he was preparing for three American mobsters that came to Capri to buy a round of gaiters for Al Capone. The result was so good that the three Americans demanded the recipe. Di Fiore, who christened the cake with the name "Caprese," began baking it regularly, with a great and rapid success and with many followers. "

Pasticciotto


This cake was created in the eighteenth century by a pastry chef who, using the surplus of the mix of other pastries, and adding a bit of (custard) cream and sour cherries, decided to create a small cake in a copper saucepan. Contrary to expectations, the result was a big mess! However, the pastry chef decided to bake it anyway and, as soon as it was cooked and while still hot, he gave it to a passerby. The success was immediate: shortly thereafter Pasticciotto became the flagship of the Neapolitan pastry preparation.

Potato Gateau

They say the origins of this dish dates back to the period of the Bourbons domination, when in year 1768 Naples became a place of discussion for great European cuisines. The new queen, Maria Carolina, daughter of Maria Teresa Lorrain of Habsburg and Ferdinand I of Bourbon, introduced to the capital French cuisine, outsourcing the service kitchen to high-ranking chefs called “monzù” by the Neapolitans and “monsù” by the Sicilians, derivations of the French word "monsieur”.

 
Generally, it’s served hot but many prefer to eat it at room temperature in order to allow all of the ingredients “to rest” amalgamating in perfect harmony and releasing at the appropriate time an inimitable taste.


Its composition based on potatoes, meats, cheeses and sometimes vegetables, is so substantial as to be consumed as a main dish with high nutritional value.