Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Cofffee with Three F's

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…)

Cafffè Camerino
Largo Arenula 30

15 comments:

Gracie said...

I'm happy you discovered this caffè, we italians have a very long tradition about it, it's a sort of rite drinking it, as you may have already known living here! In my hometown we have a place (now it has opened in others cities as well) called Lino's Coffee, where you can enjoy all kinds of coffee and cappucino, with topping I've never dreamed of, and all sort of aromas for make it special and personal. I'm sure you would appreciate the experience!

Lauren said...

Shelley--where is Caffe Camerino located? I've got to try that caffee completo!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I am not a coffee drinker but that completo looks amazing.

There is a Starbucks in Paris. I heard they were coming to Italy.

Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

Gracie: You should do a post about Lino's! I would love to see the menu of choices.

Lauren: It's on Largo Arenula 30, which is right at the end of the line for the tram #8 in front of Largo Argentina. (5 mins. walking south of the Pantheon)

NYC: The co. I used work for has a branch in Paris and I remember my colleagues there always getting Starbucks! I feel fairly confident they wouldn't succeed here. Prices too high, and the coffee culture here is just so established, I think they'd be out of their league. Although, do you think tourists would go there? Kind of the McDonald's phenomenon? Could be a possibility.

Anonymous said...

So Fing good indeed! When I'm in town next, we MUST go there. And I'll try one of those honey pastries - yum! Unless they have anything with Nutella. In which case I will have to double up.

Tracie B. said...

you didn't lick the bottom?! i'm sure you would have looked great with a coffee/cocoa powder ring on your face :)

Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Yum! I wrote about the Marocchino being my favorite, but I can always have two favorites....can't I? :) Let's try that when I come down.

dmarie said...

wow that looks soooo good!

Anonymous said...

Yum! That looks so delicious. I am sooooo there in March! I'll probably be asking for a small list of your recommendations around that time, so keep 'em coming!

triplecreme said...

Oh my God!! I want a caffe completo right now! It looks so good!

Cynthia Rae said...

The next time I am in Rome, I am going to meet you for un cafe at this little shop! It looks great!
On my way home from the States, I had a lay over in Frankfurt. I couldn't believe it when I ran into a Starbucks at the airport. At 4 EUROS a cup, it was even more expensive than America! I thought to myself "is Italy the ONLY country that doesn't have a Starbucks"??? Well, as soon as I had my first cappuccino after arriving home, I remembered why. Starbucks just cant compete with Italy's coffee (and the Italians wound never pay 4 bucks a cup)!

Cyn

Gracie said...

Take a look at the official site
http://www.linoscoffee.com/italiano/index_ita.htm

Jenny said...

Oh, that sounds divine!

Expat Traveler said...

yum! You are making me so hungry. Such a great number of posts back to back! I slip up one day and have too catch up!

Anonymous said...

I can no longer drink Starbucks after experiencing the coffee of Italy.