Being coffee obsessed, there is no better city to visit in Italy than Naples…the home of pizza margherita, mouthwatering sfogliatelle and coffee extraordinaire…need I go on? Last weekend, it was time to say hello to spring and adieu to winter and il caffè alla nocciola in cialda (espresso topped with hazelnut cream served in a tiny wafer cup) at my favorite Neapolitan coffee bar, Il Vero Bar del Professore. Sadly the chocolate wafer lining melts when temperatures rise making it difficult to store them in summer.
The dark scrumptious layer disintegrates the minute the nutty coffee combo meets the edible shell so time is of the essence. Stand at the bar, slurp back the luscious creamy concoction and crunch on the crisp wafer. The good news is the caffè alla nocciola is available year round served in glass minus the chocolate. If sweet coffee drinks aren’t your thing, order a caffè napoletano (espresso) or cappuccino, which are equally yummy.
I’ve been visiting this famous institution for years and I’m never disappointed. Most days you’ll find Raffaele Ferrieri, the founder’s son and current owner, at the bar happy to recount the history of his bar and talk about his coffee creations. Neapolitans stand at the counter watching brilliant baristas whip up the legendary crema di nocciola (hazelnut cream) that coats the inside of each glass. Although there are a few street side tables, the emphasis isn’t on lingering, but rather on taste.
Open since 1977, near Piazza del Plebiscito, they follow an artisan method of coffee production. They are one of the few coffee bars in Naples that roast coffee beans a legna (wood roasting). Most roasting machines are gas fired. When roasting is done well it is an art. Without it none of the flavor and aroma would grace your cup. Their blend is 100% arabica – smooth, velvety, divine.
Although I’m already missing il Professore’s caffè alla nocciola in cialda, I’m looking forward to summer and my first caffè shakerato of 2011. Caffè shakerato is made by mixing espresso, sugar and a lot of ice; shake vigorously until a froth appears when poured. There’s nothing like a caffeine-ice pick me up on a steamy July day!