Contributing Monkie Aria Alpert
Published on July 11, 2012
Photographer: Aria Alpert
Well, I am here. In Lecce. The most quaint, glorious, Italian town I have ever experienced. Yes, I know this is the first time I have ever been to this country but I am still gonna stand by a statement like that. Lecce is everything I ever fanaticized an Italian town, along the coast would be. The friendly locals, the simple and rustic cuisine, the landscape, the vino and the…the…the (forbidden) ESPRESSO! Yep, my friends you read that right, I said it. I am proudly drinking it. It’s some good shit. I must say. I have missed you my espresso!
The espresso over here is totally different than in the states. Even the imported stuff doesn’t compare. I was talking to a local today about that and she says it has to do with the water here, which is loaded minerals and especially has lots of Iron. She says it balances the acidity in the espresso. And boy oh boy does it ever. Yum. Smooth, bitter, perfectly astringent and most importantly, it hasn’t given me the crazy cracked out feeling that I often get when I drink the stuff back home. This espresso just a nice little kick. A warm Italian embrace to get your day started out right. And while I am here in Lecce, or in Italy for that matter, I do believe I am gonna get into it. Well…I guess I already have.
It’s such a lovely part of there community. Communal morning ritual. Much different to our ‘get a coffee to go’ culture back in the states. Here, they all greet each other with a Ciao and a Buongiorno. Drink their drink of choice while still standing at the bar and then when they are finished go about their day. It’s lovely. Enjoying the coffee, the espresso in community instead of rushing to work while burning your tongue on the sugary crap we Americans call coffee. Yes, I am generalizing here but
I‘m sure you understand what I’m getting at. ENJOY YASELVES! Take a beat before your day and savor the warm goodness in your porcelain cup with your fellow men and women.
Oh and since it’s summer and hot here, they have a very delicious local refreshing Leccese coffee drink that is extremely popular. It is a shot espresso on the rocks with special almond milk. Now, this almond milk is unlike any other I have ever tasted. They make it by gently extracting the juice and the oil of the almond then add sugar so it becomes a cloudy thick not so sweet syrup. Nothing at all when I think of my version of almond milk. It has a very similar flavor of almond paste. The drink is called Caffè ghiaccio di Mandorla. Normally I don’t eat or rather drink sugar but remember what my saying is while I am here in Italy…F-it I’m in…well, now, I’m in LECCE!