If you have been following my blog, you know I am a “Baker” by name only. I am not an aficionado or even remotely good at baking. I like to cook. What if I was defined by my last name-like it used to be in olden days, the Smith’s -gold smiths, black smiths, and the Baker’s- the local baker who actually did baking. Don’t get me wrong, I love my name, I just like to cook and drink coffee more.
I am very passionate about my coffee. There is nothing like that first cup of coffee in the morning. It is like that first kiss, that first time, cough, cough,(you know) and for me, that first sip every morning is like the first time. I have a love affair with coffee. Lately, every afternoon, I have a cup using my french press. I have an expresso and cappuccino maker sitting in my kitchen and will have that on special occasions. I have a friend who makes cappuccino every morning for his wife…I have subtly suggested that to mine, but he has no guilt and I get up way too early to wait.
Since I needed to bake something sweet in Italian cooking and culture and I knew that was not going to happen, we went instead to Vespa, a local Chapel Hill, NC restaurant. Immediately, when we walked in, I thought we would sit at the bar for our dessert and coffee, but the maitre’d immediately said, ‘no, no, you must sit at a table.” I can see why- it was quaint and romantic with a view of the sidewalks and people strolling by (I felt like I was at a sidewalk cafe in Verona-with Italian music wafting around and sipping very nice Italian sparkling water).
We choose our desserts, a cup of cappuccino and a Vespa Italian drink to celebrate-vita! You know, there is a history behind the word and drink “cappuccino”- in Italian it means “little hood”- the kind of hoods worn by 16th century Franciscan monks-the “Capuchin” monks. Wow, you may be thinking, “maybe being a monk is not always about the self-denial kind of thing-praying and drinking a cup of cappuccino is not a bad way to start the day.” The name of the hot drink did not become known until the 50’s (I cannot remember my grandparents asking for a cappuccino before?!) but legend, tall tale or myth says that someone decided to the call the hot drink-“cappuccino” because the color of the foam looked like the Capuchin Monks hoods-pale brown.
If you are ever off to Italy, order cappuccino in the morning, not how we know it in the states- we usually have it as an afternoon or late evening drink. The cup with lots of foamy milk in Italy is considered a breakfast meal. I had mine very late at night with a ricotta cheesecake a cooked ricotta cheese, with orange, and lemon zest, and my husband ordered Profiteroles- stuffed pastries with whipped cream and dipped in Belgian chocolates. Life is good! Take a peek at some of the pics I took that night.
306 D W. Franklin Street Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Lunch: Noon – 3 pm
Dinner: 4:00 pm -10:00 pm
Late Night: 10:30 pm – 2:30 am