Global Food Myths #11: Do Italians only drink cappuccino before lunchtime?

Delia Martina Landwehrmann, Global Food Myths #11, Cappuccino

LSG Group experts clarify food myths from around the world – Episode 11 is about cappuccino and the Italian coffee culture.

After dinner with pizza and pasta, a cappuccino along with a serving of Panna Cotta sounds like the perfect end to a day on holiday in Italy – for untrained tourists, at least. Locals, it is often said, would only drink espresso after 11 o’clock in the morning. Delia Martina Landwehrmann, Executive Chef and LSG Sky Chefs’ resident expert on Italy tells us the whole story.

“It’s true that drinking cappuccino in the afternoon or evening is at least somewhat frowned upon,” says Landwehrmann. Only on the colder days can you find an Italian or two keeping warm over a cup of cappuccino. “But to order them right after dinner is a definite no-no. This is completely unusual and shows you who the tourist is.”

The reason is that Italians consider cappuccino, which consists of an espresso and a large amount of frothed milk, to be a heavy drink. Instead of promoting digestion like espresso, which is taken black or only with sugar, it would inhibit it.

Those who only drink coffee with milk can help themselves by ordering a “caffè macchiato”; an espresso that’s served with milk foam. Latte macchiato, on the other hand, is not a good idea: it was invented in Italy to offer children a less caffeinated alternative when their parents drink coffee. The – literally translated – “spotted milk” drink experienced its breakthrough with adults only as a lifestyle beverage outside Italy.

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