Or, how many ways can you get your sugar high? Despite the Italians’ insistence that they do not like things troppo dolce, the country is filled with sweet treats – from gelato to tempting pastries, the sugary stuff is everywhere. Especially in the caffes. As previously mentioned, coffee is a national pastime and no self-respecting Italian drinks their caffe straight, but always sweetened…sometimes with three packets of sugar to one little, teensy espresso cup. Last week I watched while one guy tipped the pre-measured sugar dispenser over his cup five times. Yep, that’s five teaspoons to one cup. Obviously that dude didn’t get the memo that Italians don’t like things troppo dolce.
In our neighborhood pasticceria there is a buffet of sugar options. There is the ususal dispenser, but then there are overflowing bowls offering an assortment of packets. The disgusting chemical “diet” sweetener is available, but an array of others: honey; zucchero di cana (raw sugar); and regular sugar in pacchetti. Plus the flavored sugars…amaretto, cocoa, cinnamon, hazelnut essences in the packets. And sachets of fructose, too.
This display rests atop the glass case wherein is the bounty of pastries that is a feast for the eyes and a snare for the dieter. Cookies, little tortes with fruit or cream fillings, and cake-like confections. Croissants filled with nutella, whipped cream, marmalade or pastry cream (or any combination of those that you would choose.
The nearby chocolate shop is a beckoning temptation that I can rarely resist. Their candies are chocolate perfection, and their gelato flavors…well, they are oh-my-gawd good.
It’s true that la dolce vita really is sweet.