Thursday, 4 November 2010

Grappa...

Caffé Corretto

The literal translation of Caffé Corretto is 'corrected coffee'. The implication is clear: in the absence of Italy's favourite spirit, a coffee might be termed incorretto or just plain 'incorrect'.

Arguably, the modern era of coffee really began in 1905, when the first commercial espresso machines began to be manufactured in Italy. However, it was not until 1945 that Achilles Gaggia perfected a piston-based machine capable of creating high pressure extraction to produce the thick layer of 'crema' that we demand with our espresso today.

Typically, Italians add sugar to espresso. Some keep their espresso cup and 'cicheto' (typical shot glass) entirely separate as they drink corretto. Others drink most of each before pouring the remaining grappa into the cup, swilling the two liquids together for a final, exquisite mouthful. A further option is to take the corretto pre-mixed, breaking the smooth surface of the 'crema' with a delicate shot.

For many Italians, drinking corretto is more than an everyday experience. Visit an espresso bar in any town in Veneto or Friuli, the regions that are home to Italy's finest grappas and you will see corretto being enjoyed at breakfast time, mid-morning, after lunch and in the early evening - before the journey home. While drinking corretto four or five times a day would be considered excessive by even the most seasoned afficionado, it's important to remember a little moderation. It only takes a small shot to deliver the corretto flavour experience. Of course, taken after dinner as a digestif, a 35 or 50ml measure is entirely appropriate.
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