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Mission Europe 2: A New Look at Espresso

I attended a Lavazza workshop during my 2010 journey and loved it, so I was quite excited to participate in a new one this time around.  If there is anything Costa Rica and Italy have in common, it would be coffee, at least their love for it.  In my opinion, Costa Rica grows it perfectly and Italy brews it perfectly.  As for who drinks it perfectly…that would be me.

This particular taste workshop, Lavazza: Espresso for Dessert, set out to explore the sweeter side of the inky concoction.  Coffee in sweets is not a foreign concept to me or many other people, but some Italians believe it or not, think the concept to be quite innovative.  Regardless of the “novelty” of the subject, an Italian perspective on something is always welcome in my kitchen.

It began with a rich espresso boasting a perfectly extracted crema.  A slideshow displayed information about extractions, temperatures, procedures and such.  A cappuccino brew-off ensued between a professional machine and a home machine.  The discussion of cappuccino was very interesting.  I’ll bet you didn’t know that cappuccino is originally Austrian and was traditionally served with honey.  Did you?  Well, I didn’t either.

I enjoyed an Espresso Glace (a tribute to the chestnut season in Italy), Tiramisu in a Cup, Cassata Espresso, Cafe de Olla (also known as coffee made in a clay pot), Suspended Irish Coffee (an amazing whiskey pannacotta with espresso) and Dado di Caffelatte Impanato (a chocolate coated coffee and cream cube).

Upon concluding the class with a couple pages of notes, new information and a new round of acquired business cards, I checked my caffeine levels and found that I was sufficiently perky to make it through the next workshop.

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