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ESTATE 2011

Poste Italiane SpA - Spedizione in Abbonamento Postale - D.L. 353/2003 (com. L. 27/02/2004 n. 46) art. 1, comma 1 DCB Brescia

dall’analisi sensoriale al piacere

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COFFEE

The Coffee of Veneto A coffee rich in history, rounded, delicate and with vanilla and chocolate aromas. A traditional beverage that has been sipped in some of the most important and oldest cafes in Italy and Europe: this is the coffee of Veneto

It is also thanks to a coastal and commercial city like Venice – and with it all of the Veneto, which has always been an integral part of the economy of the lagoon – that Italy and Europe can enjoy such a valuable drink as coffee. In fact, two characteristics have made this land unique: the fact that it was the Eastern border, the European bulwark to the Ottoman Empire, and its ability to establish itself as a great international point, mainly focused on trade. If in the XVI century entrepreneurial explorers had been singing the drink’s virtues to Europe, it was the Venetian traders who were among the first to bring the exotic beans of energising and reinvigorating properties to the continent. Here, a significant historical fact should be mentioned: in 1683, Vienna was liberated from the Turks due to a coalition in which the Republic of Venice was also involved. The outgoing Ottomans abandoned 500

bags of coffee which were then gathered by Polish man, Franz Kolschitzky, who then opened the first coffee shop in the Hapsburg capital. Other stories insist that in 1683 it

Coffee Reasoning Over the course of the Eighteenth century, coffee shops sprung up across Europe. They were meeting places for artists and intellectuals; and at length, Enlightenment followers praised the virtues of coffee, capable of activating both the body and the mind. Here, ideas and opinions were exchanged, created and compared; they were places of life, meetings and reasoning. For Italy, it was Venice which led the way to these new cafes: it appears that it was here that the first coffee shop was born in 1683, in Piazza San Marco. In 1720, the famous Caffe Florian was opened, which remains active to this day.

L’ASSAGGIO 33 - PRIMAVERA 2011

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The Venetian Case The story of today’s Venetians is a story that takes place behind the scenes, on a backstage beyond which there is an audience of tourists from across the globe. Behind the immense backdrop of Piazza San Marco, of the canals populated by gondolas and of the picturesque views, narrow alleyways open up whose shops and cafes are only known to the locals: this is the Venice of the Venetians, hidden and nestled among the recesses of the lagoon, a winkle among the rocks. Only if you are very fortunate, will you have the chance to be guided by a Venetian into one of these cafes, the meeting-place of the locals. The cafes in Piazza San Marco are much more well-known, the historical and literary cafes of Venice in which you could meet Silvio Pellico exchanging political ideas with other local intellectuals, or Carlo Goldoni concocting one of his plays. They do not risk failing even today: with good reason, an espresso drunk at the same table where Goethe, Byron, Proust or Casanova once sat, has its cost. Is the price, however, also repaid by quality? Not often, according to the coffee roasters of the region. This is because the large and unstoppable increase in consumption and the presence of tourism en masse has provoked a change

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L’ASSAGGIO 33 - PRIMAVERA 2011

in the coffee in order to adapt it to more international tastes. Furthermore, Venice has always been a difficult place to serve for coffee roasters, simply for logistical reasons. After the seventies, Venice started to become the land of mass-consumption blends and of large-scale national brands. The Venetian coffee roaster do however continue to serve strategic points, like Casino and Biennale, as well as cafes where the coffee servers maintain the highest level of cross-generational professionalism. It is necessary to look back in time in order to find coffee houses within the city, equipped with their own roasters, which roasted and sold different types of coffee and where, very often, it was the same coffee server who bought the raw coffee directly from the port. Perhaps today something is changing. Those who feel the wind blow in Venice every day know that, from around 2003, the exodus of the natives began to fall: perhaps due to the recent university reorganisation which attracts a great number of students and encourages them to experience the city more. Who knows if, thanks to the younger generation, a new renaissance will also smile upon the coffee of Venice.


SELECTION

COFFEE

Cafes Certified by the National Institute of Italian Espresso in Veneto Name

Address

City

Caffè San Marco

Via Dante Alighieri, 322/D

Polesella

Gas Cafè

Via Porta Po, 38/B

Rovigo

Bar Passaggio

Corso Risorgimento, 78/A

Porto Viro

Snack Bar Al Passo

Via Passo, 173

Bosaro

El Merendero

Via Arginelli, 93

Fasana Adria

Bar Pizzeria Albergo Angire Via Roma, 90

Due Carrare

Il Venexino non solo caffè Via San Fermo, 45

Padova

D. And G. Patisserie

Via Montegrappa, 30

Selvazzano Dentro

Scacco Matto

Viale della Pace, 104/A

Rovigo

Al Cova del Frate

Via Ponte Pietra, 19/A

Verona

Veneto coffee is predominantly lightly toasted and has a hazelnut-coloured foam and a silky surface. It is rounded, scarcely bitter and hardly acidic to the taste, but is full-bodied. Its aroma is intense, with delicate traces in which dry fruits and spice sensations of vanilla and a hint of cocoa predominate. It is a sweet and balanced coffee, without acidic peaks, and endowed with spicy and fruity aromas.

was actually Venice which opened the first European café. In any case, the Serene Republic of Venice was among the first to embark upon coffee trading and, due to that experience, coffee roasters were able to become familiar with the raw material and develop that envied knowledge in the art of blending which today. Today, such expertise is acknowledged by all and brings a lightly roasted, rounded, scarcely bitter, delicate and vanilla- and chocolate-scented coffee to cafés. Even traditional cuisine has pushed local tastes towards this type of coffee. If Venice is a rich, coastal city of thus typical culinary characteristics, then the zones of the Veneto that served the Serene Republic of Venice for many years were instead of agricultural economy and peasant culture with simple food habits such as polenta (eaten at midday and at dinner), vegetables and boiled meats; these diet pushed the population towards the consumption of a relatively acidic and spiced coffee.

Claudia Ferretti claudia.ferretti@italiantasters.com

L’ASSAGGIO 33 - PRIMAVERA 2011

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The coffee of Veneto  

A coffee rich in history, rounded, delicate and with vanilla and chocolate aromas. A traditional beverage that has been sipped in some of th...

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