I am truly not sure why, but breakfast in Italy is sweet. Cake is a traditional breakfast food, and so are cookies. We are always a bit stunned when we hear Americans making fun of the concept of cake for breakfast, mostly because that’s the norm for us!
A selection of typical Italian breakfast cookies!
Whereas the French will indulge in omelet or crepes and fresh fruit along with croissant and jam, and Germans will add ham to their toasts, in Italy there is no tradition whatsoever of savory foods on the breakfast table. Continental breakfast is a concept we embrace to the tee! Even fruit is looked upon with suspicion! The typical Italian breakfast is made of a hot beverage, like cappuccino or caffe’, with something sweet to eat- cake, cookies, pastries, brioche, croissants, or toast and jam.
When at home, caffelatte and coffee made with the moka are the more common choices for drinks, and usually small breakfast cookies (Mulino Bianco, anyone?) provide the sugar rush. Cereals are available on the shelves in the grocery store, but mostly eaten as an afternoon snack, not for breakfast! Italians often consume their breakfast out- the thousands of bars you will walk by everywhere in Italy serve cappuccino and paste (brioches, or bomboloni) for a breakfast you can conveniently consume while standing at the counter!
Eggs? Ham? Bacon? THOSE ARE DINNER FOODS! (It seems to hear grandma!)
In the Bay Area you can indulge in a perfect, Italian style breakfast at Emporio Rulli. My favorite is the one in Larkspur, but all locations will really work out for my monthly fix of bomboloni con la crema! You can also find bombolni at I Preferiti di Boriana at the Ferry Building, and a good breakfast can be snatched at Cocola.
Filed under: Culinary Culture