I’d like to introduce you to my new friends Alessandro and Massimo. They, along with the barista magic they perform on every incredible coffee confection in their bar Cafffè Camerino, are the reasons why Italy will probably be the last and only stronghold that Starbucks won’t succeed in infiltrating. How could the Seattle coffee giant possibly compete against smiling faces like this?
Yes, blogging can be a tough job sometimes, but somebody’s gotta do it. So, I rolled up my sleeves and made the sacrifice for you, dear readers, when I ordered the caffè (cafffè?) completo, a.k.a.: the complete coffee. Oh, and complete it most certainly is. Wanna see?
I can’t take credit for discovering this little slice (drop) of heaven in a cup, made even more heavenly by its price: just 1 euro. No, that honor goes to one of my favorite former students, whose love for Rome drove him to discover the most intriguing hidden gems in the city, among them this. He told me about the caffè completo, and after three years in Rome at the time, I still hadn’t ever heard of it. I've only seen it at this particular bar. It’s like a mini-cappuccino, but better. On the bottom there is, according to Alessandro, “un cremino di cioccolato speciale,” which I think is a chocolate square, and maybe that’s how it starts out in the cup—I’ll never really know because of course it’s one of their trade secrets. By the time it gets to you, it’s a melty chocolate sauce. That’s because they add your espresso on top, along with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of cacao. Drool.
Maxwell House, you ain’t got nothin’ on Caffè Camerino, because let me tell you that the caffè completo really is good to the last drop. The last desperate spoonful actually, as I scraped the bottom of my cup to capture every bit of that cremino that I possibly could. They took the cup away to prevent me from licking the bottom. That’s just not proper, you see. And since there wasn’t any bread to sop it up, I simply looked on in awe at the remains of what I had just enjoyed.
Now, my blog isn’t exactly The New York Times, even though Massimo told me he got a photo in there too, but my readers are just as special as theirs; Massimo is even going to be looking up my blog so he can print out a copy of my post for Ale, who told me he doesn’t have a computer. Who needs a computer when you’ve got skills like this?
Oh, and in the morning? Don’t miss their delectable cornetto ai ceriali, a whole-grain croissant with warm honey inside. Double drool. Plus, when Christmas rolls around, they are really the best place to get an amazing assortment of panettone and pandoro Italian Christmas cakes (hey, maybe that will merit a return trip).
Folks, when in Rome, do as the Romans do and try "il caffè con tre effe." Why three F’s? I have no idea. Maybe because it’s just so F-ing good! (Oh, come on, I just couldn’t resist…)