The Other Reality

Clearly I have not posted any thing wanderlust-y lately, or posted anything at all actually. I have moved back to my home in the Tri-state area, a place definitely unique, but maybe not as picturesque as the rolling Tuscan colline.

I am back to the frenzy that is New York.

Many people come here because the nonstop life is just seems so exciting. But, after living in Florence for a year and doing a lot of lifestyle restructuring, I am finding myself not jumping for joy about multiple 6 am call times. So, I have resorted to new habits.

I eat cookies.

Yes, I know, everyone probably eats cookies and how would eating cookies mean change anything. Fortunately, and unfortunately, I developed quite the habit of a sugary breakfast while in Florence. We are not talking Frosted Flakes here. I am talking coffee and cookies.

When I was at my aunt’s house in Siena, I would wake up late. I was not sleeping well in my new apartment and her tiny second bedroom was my haven. The thick shutters would turn the room into a coffin. My aunt knew that I liked to keep my mornings leisurely. After exchanging good mornings, it was an immediate “vuoi un caffe?” There was never a protest, especially since she would just keep insisting if I said no. I would sit down at her little makeshift kitchen island and started munching on some Pavesi gocciole cookies. I was right back in dreamland.

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My aunt’s table, a macchiatone, biscuits, and homemade jam.

When I eventually transferred to a homestay, this practice became a daily routine. The family was Sicilian and loved their sweets, a match made in heaven. I would sit at their kitchen table, dunking tea biscuits in an espresso lungho each morning. Sometimes I would have yoghurt for some more fuel. But, still those cookies were the one thing that made an already dazzling Florentine sky a little bit more brilliant.

This little daily detail is helping me to re-strike a balance here. I am carrying my new lifestyle to the table each morning. I smile when the steam from my moka begins to scream something that sounds like “coffee! cookies!” (at least in my mind.) Biscotti down on the table, a drop of honey in the moka, maybe a little bit of milk foam, and it is definitely another blessed day on this earth. I am a self proclaimed cookie monster. And, I think it will hold me off from buying a one way ticket back to Italy, for now…

The two taralli looking cookies are the Caveosi, while the one other is a delicious Persian cardamom chickpea cookie.

I use Caffe Vergnano ground coffee. It has a robust espresso brown color and lovely vanilla notes. I make it with a moka, or small stovetop coffee maker. It is my favorite way to make coffee at home. Easy and comforting. Also, if someone can find me Pavesi gocciole, I will be forever indebted to you. So far, these Di Leo Caveosi biscotti from Eataly are doing a (re)fine(d) job. Still not my simple gocciole though.

My Vev Vigano moka

I have a moka that looks like something out of the MoMa, at least in this photo! Its plain old stainless steel and aluminum. You can find yourself one on Amazon, at Eataly, or in other small (mostly Italian) groceries. It truly is a gem. Espresso machines are quite expensive you know and, while I am still saving up to buy a fancy one, I still stand by this little buddy. I dare you to buy a moka. It might make you a cookie monster like me. Or just more of a coffee-holic.

There will be more coffee, cookies, and stories coming shortly. But, in the meantime, take a moment in your day for a coffee and a treat. It will definitely make these oddly cold last days of summer a little more sweet.

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