There is a limited number of acceptable breakfast foods in Italy. Italians don’t eat much first thing in the morning. One thing they never miss is their espresso. They might take a shot of it in a cup of warm milk (as in the photo above) or straight. Either way, they’re using the strong stuff to wake themselves up. Some of them dip day-old Italian bread in their espresso. Or they pick up one of those crunchy biscotti we’ve all come to know and love. Now, my family – contadini, who worked the land from the wee hours of the morning, – serve tomatoes and bread (with olive oil, salt, and basil) for breakfast regularly. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that either. I indulge more than I care to admit. My father, who is now an American, has taught us to live on the stuff.
The younger generation of Ischitani, who are much less likely to be turning over soil at 5 a.m., eat more traditional breakfast foods. For a treat, they head to their local bakery/bar (bars are for coffee, not alcohol, in Italy). There, they will have a favorite pastry and some of that espresso or even a warm cup of milk. During the holiday break, my husband and I walked over to Gran Caffe Vittoria in Ischia Porto for le trecce (the braids) in the photo above. Flaky, braided pastry is topped with cream and sugar. It certainly is a sweet way to start the day.