What is a typical Italian Breakfast? From croissants and crepes to brioche and biscotti, here are 10 Italian breakfast foods (+ easy recipes) that will make you feel like you’re in Italy!
Italy may be most famous for its contributions to architecture, literature, fashion, and design, but their cuisine is also incomparable. I for one am always in awe of how stunning their dishes are.
Italian cuisine is often perceived as elegant and luxurious. But, while Italians do have a knack for combining exquisite flavors and textures, they also have a unique way of keeping things simple.
Now, if you’re wondering what comprises a breakfast meal in this great nation, then you have come to the right place. Whether you’re having an Italian guest over, or just in the mood for a luxurious breakfast, this article is for you.
So, without further ado, here are 10 sensational Italian breakfast foods sure to satisfy those tastebuds.
Top 10 Italian Breakfast Recipes
You need not visit Italy to know that Italians love their coffee, not just for breakfast, but all day long.
For Italians, drinking a hot cup of coffee is the only right way to start the day. We have them to thank for the many types of coffee we all love and enjoy.
But, do you know the difference between a macchiato, a latte, and other Italian coffee drinks? If not, let me explain:
- Un Caffe’ – The basic, single espresso shot.
- Caffe’ al Vetro – An espresso served not in a ceramic mug but in a fancy glass cup.
- Caffelatte – An espresso topped with milk and served in a large glass.
- Macchiato – An espresso shot topped with foamy milk. Macchiato means “stained” or “spotted.”
- Latte Macchiato – The opposite of a macchiato, it is a milk-based drink with a shot of coffee, served in a tall glass.
- Decaffeinato – Also espresso, but decaf!
- Caffe’ Lungo – Watered-down espresso. It is left in the espresso machine longer than usual so that it is diluted in more water. In the States, this is what we call Americano.
- Cadde’ d’orzo – A barley-based coffee substitute.
Cappuccino is another Italian coffee that is consumed at breakfast. The beverage is made with a double shot of espresso and creamy milk and topped with extra foamy milk.
Since it is fatty and heavy, Italians consider it a stand-alone breakfast and don’t drink it with other dishes. However, there is no truth to the common misconception that Italians do not drink cappuccino beyond 11 AM.
So, if you want a cuppa cappuccino for lunch or dinner, have at it, no one will stop you!
If you’re not in the mood for a caffeine boost but want a delicious hot beverage, how about some hot chocolate?
Now, I’m not talking about an instant powdered chocolate drink, here. I’m talking super thick, chocolatey, pudding-like drink called cioccolata calda.
Italian hot chocolate is super rich and decadent, it can sometimes double as a dessert. It’s so thick, you will need to use a spoon to drink/eat it!
No wonder, because it’s made with actual pieces of chocolate, milk, and sugar. The chocolate is melted in a special machine that turns it into a delicious masterpiece.
While the Brits usually serve their biscuits during afternoon tea, Italians have them with coffee or milk for breakfast. Dunk these crumbly treats in a steaming cup of coffee and enjoy.
Brioches are another Italian pastry made of sweet dough. You’ll see them in Italian pastry shops and cafes usually served with coffee. There are many ways to eat brioche, but they are filled with vanilla cream, jam, or almond paste.
If you want something nutty and crunchy to dip into your coffee, go for biscotti! Biscotti are sweet almond-based biscuits that are super crunchy and flavorful.
In Italian, this combo is called pane, burro e marmellata. It’s another traditional breakfast that is usually served with, as you may have guessed, coffee.
Okay, here’s how to do it right: take a slice of freshly baked bread (whatever kind will do), spread a thin layer of butter on top, and top it with your favorite jam. Simple, yet full of flavor. Delizioso!
If you’ve had a breakfast casserole, quiche, or omelet before, then you more or less know what a frittata tastes like. This traditional Italian breakfast is also egg-based and usually infused with meats, vegetables, and cheese.
A frittata is like an unfolded omelet, or a quiche sans the crust.
Frittata fun fact: The Italian word translated means “fried.” It used to refer to any egg dish fried in butter or oil.
Crepes may have originated in France, but Italy has an equally tasty version.
They’re called crespelle. This Italian variant is much thinner and crisper than its French counterpart. But, just like French crepes, you can use sweet and/or savory fillings or toppings to flavor it.
Whether it’s Nutella, fresh fruits, chocolate, or spinach, mushroom, and ricotta cheese, crespelle tastes fantastic.
Here’s an interesting fact about crepes: while it is now considered as an elegant dish, they were once perceived as a poor man’s food.
But, its reputation changed in 1895, when a chef accidentally served a much thinner version of pancakes to Edward the VIII, then Prince of Wales.
The young prince loved it so much that he suggested naming the dish after his friend, Crepes Suzette.
Croissants are another French pastry, but they’ve also got this tasty bread in Italy, and they call them cornetto. Cornetto means little horn, which perfectly describes what the pastry looks like.
Unlike its French counterpart, though, cornetto is much softer and has less butter.
Now, you might be wondering, croissants/cornetto are not the healthiest of breakfast foods. So how do most Italians have such a fit figure? Well, the answer is simple: everything in moderation. They don’t eat croissants every morning!
Rather, it’s something they eat only from time to time, when they’re feeling indulgent.
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