Cultured Palate: Dishes from Italy
Sfogliatelle has a remarkably monastic heritage for such an indulgent little treat as they were originally created in the monastery of Santa Rosa in Salerno, Italy. Made of dough that separates into many thin layers when baked, the pastries are then filled with pastry cream. Find them in any local bakery in Italy — they make an excellent compliment to espresso.
Bicerin is a delicious hot drink native to Turin, where it has been served at Caffè al Bicerin since the 18th century. Made of hot chocolate, whole milk, and espresso, the drink is served layered rather than mixed together. Different places in Italy have their own variations, but the origin is distinctly Piedmontese.
Grappa is unique because it’s made of leftovers. Alcohol is distilled from grape skins, seeds, stems and pulp, and allowed to ferment. There are many interesting ways of drinking grappa. In Venice, a resentin is when grappa is poured into a nearly-empty cup of espresso and allowed to mingle before being drunk. Grappa is also added to espresso to make a caffe corretto.