Breakfast in La Spezia: the dipped focaccia tradition explained

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Having breakfast with a focaccia bread dipped in cappuccino is a Ligurian tradition. Outside the region, almost no one understands the charm of this specialty. Here’s how to figure out the Ligurian way and how to have the best breakfast in La Spezia.

Il tunnel che fu protagonista durante la seconda Guerra Mondiale di due missioni americane è oggi una bella pista ciclopedonale tra Bonassola e Framura If you want to have a “continental” Breakfast in La Spezia, that will probably only happen in your hotel. We suggest you should go for the most local breakfast experience. Having breakfast in La Spezia is different from other Italian cities and similar to other places in Liguria, with Focaccia bread dipped in cappuccino. In fact, it is quite difficult also for other Italians to understand this passion, so if after having tried this you go to other Italian cities and say: “I like the focaccia dipped in coffee and milk” they might look at you as if you came from Mars. One must start with a few simple considerations, which are the basic rules for breakfast focaccia.
Focaccia bread dipped in Capuccino
If you want to have a “continental” Breakfast in La Spezia, that will probably only happen in your hotel. We suggest you should go for the most local breakfast experience. Having breakfast in La Spezia is different from other Italian cities and similar to other places in Liguria, with Focaccia bread dipped in cappuccino. In fact, it is quite difficult also for other Italians to understand this passion, so if after having tried this you go to other Italian cities and say: “I like the focaccia dipped in coffee and milk” they might look at you as if you came from Mars. One must start with a few simple considerations, which are the basic rules for breakfast focaccia.

1- Take it easy: breakfast is made to take stock with the world

Who is in a hurry in the morning can not be Ligurian. Breakfast is an important time: you can not really enjoy focaccia and cappuccino (or latte and focaccia) if you are not willing to invest a bit of your time for breakfast. For this reason
  • Here we reject the Italian way breakfast, standing at the bar
  • You need to focus on what you are having
The focaccia and cappuccino are a meditation habit : you have to enjoy them while sitting, just eavesdropping on conversations of those around, mumble on the events of the day before or on what the magazine reports. Without the mumbling, breakfast tastes less.

2 – The focaccia is never too big and – most importantly – has the right size!

But how do you enter the focaccia in the cup? It’s too big! “says the unwary. Absolutely not. This idea sounds totally absurd for a Ligurian. Two facts:
  • the focaccia is never too large ;
  • The breakfast focaccia cannot be prepared in a round shape, or in too large a rectangle, but cut into strips. Outside Liguria it may seem absurd, but a Ligurian will recognize at first glance a focaccia bread ready to be soaked into the cup of milky coffee (or cappuccino) at breakfast.

3 – Oil in the milk? No way!

Focaccia bread is good because it is oily. Many cannot accept to dip oily food in Cappuccino. If you think this too, there is still hope for you, because it simply means that you use the wrong technique and dip the bread too briefly. The true virtuoso of the Ligurian breakfast can calibrate the right duration of the dip in the focaccia in latte (or cappuccino) which must neither be too long to excessively soak the focaccia, but not too short either. If you can achieve perfection in this specialty, you’ll end up with focaccia which absorbed almost all of the liquid and – therefore – there will be no oil slick floating on the surface. If even with these quick explanations the breakfast with focaccia and cappuccino seems absurd, you are not made for the Ligurian breakfast. We, therefore, advise you to keep away from its extreme version: in Genoa, many dip focaccia with onions in their latte.

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