My First Italian Love…
I can still remember drinking my first real Italian cappuccino out in the Florentine square. It was perfect, beyond anything I could have dreamed up: sittng in the ancient piazza, watching the locals and tourists saunter by, while I leisurely enjoyed every sip of that creamy, volumptuous foam atop dark espresso. It was the first time I experienced the Italian essence of how to enjoy your life.
Years before venturing to Italy, I worked for Swiss-German couple Doris and Roland during my summer vacations in Kirkland, Washington, a wealthy lake-side community just east of Seattle.
The pair made their way to North America early on as a duo: Roland a chef, and Doris the perfect maître d’ compliment to his exquisit culinary skills. Doris had become like a second mother to me during my formative young adult years. Perhaps one of the most important things she taught me was how to make a cappuccino alla Italiana. As she began to foam the milk on their Illy machine, she reminisced about her own Florentine cappuccino experience, instructing me that a real cappuccino should be fluffy and over-flowing with foam, just as they were made in Florence years ago when she studied there as a student.
A few years later I found myself having the same transcendent expereince, first in my host city Arezzo, then to Florence, Sienna, Venice, Naples, and then of course, Rome. Ahh, Roma, the eternal city! Why is Roma so magical? Because it is. This is where the phrase, La Dolce Vita orginated. Whether it myth, reality, or mythical reality, Rome remains, in my heart, the essence and the way to enjoy the simplicity of life.
After my first cappuccino instruction to my first of many cappuccinos in the cities of Italy to my current life working with La Colombe Torrefaction, I’ve mastered the art of cappuccino-making. I’ve worked for nearly four years as a barista for La Colombe Torrefaction, a French-American coffee roasting company steeped in the Italian tradition of making coffee. My love for cappuccinos has only grown as I’ve learned how to pull the perfect shot, steam the perfect milk and bring those two elements together to make a little cup of heaven.
So cappuccini, this is is for you ! Thank you for all of the wonderful pleasure and magical memories you’ve afforded me.
All of my love,
**Credits Top clockwise: 1) Vivace Espresso, 2) Gear Patrol - photo by Eric Yang - Cappuccino made by me for La Colombe, 3) Caffe Umbria, 4) La Colombe cappuccino made by me for me, 5) Swiss Family Roland and Doris Oberholzer- also pictured me and my dear friend and former Sasi’s Cafe waitress Bethany Smith.