Traditionally, Italians love to begin a mid-morning meal with a hot cup of cappuccino or conversely, end a meal with a delightfully flavored cappuccino. They prefer the traditional European light continental breakfast of a pastry and cappuccino at mid-morning.
Their main meal of the day will occur later in the evening when the sun goes down, and they’ve finished their daily duties. This is when they will savor those long, seven-course repasts that wind down with a gloriously presented cappuccino. Each region of Italy is known for its version of a cappuccino. In some Italian regions, the cappuccino is sweetened with flavored sugars like anisette or vanilla.
Italian cooks keep anisette and vanilla sugar in their cupboards for cappuccino and several other sweet treats. Use anise seed and plain finely granulated sugar or vanilla bean and superfine sugar to make these. Place in a clear, glass jar and allow the flavors to set for up to two weeks or more.
Then, add to the cappuccino. At mid-morning serve with a light croissant or sweet like tiramisu, cannoli, or a sweet yeast bread and fruit preserves. Cappuccino is the perfect treat for coffee lovers.
The Traditional Cappuccino
There are three essential ingredients needed to make cappuccino:
- Milk froth
- Hot milk
A fine strainer will also be required for the best results.
How To Make Cappuccino Without A Machine
Long before the advent of dedicated cappuccino makers, this Italian drink was made as an afterthought whenever a little espresso remained in a small amount in a tiny Italian coffee pot. When making cappuccino, it’s important to remember that the ratio of espresso to milk and milk froth is 1-2-3. One part espresso to two parts hot milk to 3 parts milk froth. If preferred, substitute half and a half or heavy cream to make frothed milk. This adds a much richer flavor.
Prepare espresso to desired strength. Next, heat milk to the near-boiling point; do not bring to a boil. The milk should be hot, but not boiling. This can be done in a microwave oven or on the stovetop. The easiest way to create a milk froth is to bring milk to a rolling boil over medium heat until slightly thickened. Don’t overcook it. Milk boiled at too high a temperature can scorch, and the taste will then be bitter. Remove from heat. Using a hand mixer beat at the highest mixing speed until the froth develops. Allow the frothed milk to rest for a few seconds before topping the espresso and hot milk.
Creating a Good Cup Of Cappuccino
The espresso, milk, and froth should all be blended at their highest temperatures. This may mean preparing the hot milk and froth in dual saucepans, so they don’t begin to cool. Pour the warm milk through the fine strainer into an espresso cup. Add the espresso. Finish with the topping of frothed milk. Serve with an espresso spoon.
Garnishes For Cappuccino
In some parts of Italy, high-quality espresso is blended with liqueurs like anisette, Frangelico, Grand Marnier, fine brandy, or rum. These are considered flavorings for cappuccino and will sweeten the drink. When using liqueurs, no additional sugar is needed to sweeten cappuccino.
Simply blend the espresso with any of the desired liqueurs to taste. Or, add a tiny droplet of pure vanilla to the cup. To garnish, use orange or lemon zest, shaved chocolate, or grated pignoli. A dusting with good quality cocoa or cinnamon or is also a good way to garnish the cappuccino. Cinnamon is another ingredient that enhances the flavor of the espresso and milk ingredients.
Here’s a nice tutorial on making Wine at home.