Italian breakfast is the least exciting meal of the day: a couple of biscuits dipped in a small cup of espresso from an old moka machine. That’s exactly the amount of energy you need to get out of the house for the second breakfast at the bar.
Since I was a kid, I remember my mother getting dressed, driving the car till the closest parking spot (with persistence at times) and enjoying the second coffee of the day standing at the counter of an always different bar while quickly reading the news or chatting with the barista. I have no memory of what I was doing in the meanwhile.
Because I had just finished a small coffee research in Rotterdam, I decided to invite my mom to a joined mission of finding the best bar in Macerata. She couldn’t be happier; she made a list of 10 bars and, during my 2 weeks holidays, I made the time to visit each of them together.
The mission was based on the fact that we would always order the same combination of espresso macchiato e cornetto alla crema (croissant filled with custard cream), but my mom made it clear that she would choose daily what kind of cup she wanted.
I think this requires a little explanation.
In Italy there are basically 4 options of coffee: espresso (also called caffé, coffee), espresso macchiato, cappuccino and latte macchiato. A simple increase of milk to the same amount of coffee. Having said this, the order is based on the creativity of the costumer: you can choose the cup size and/or material, the amount of coffee (ristretto, espresso, lungo o doppio) and the temperature of the milk. This means that it’s not uncommon to hear orders like “lungo macchiato freddo in tazza grande” (long espresso with a shot of cold milk in big cup). I am usually the one rolling eyes at this kind of orders and I don’t make an exception for my mother.
10 espressi macchiato (in different kind of cups) and 10 cornetti alla crema after, I can’t choose an ultimate favorite, but I can definitely recommend a couple.
PASTICCERIA FILONI in Corso Cairoli
This is the most typical Italian bar: small, crowded and with a strong coffee aroma. One side of the narrow space has a big vitrine with all the pastries and sandwiches, on the other side a long shelf with newspaper where people can stop while drinking their coffee and all the way to the end the most beautiful coffee machine.
I have no idea how it exactly works but it’s not an automated machine and the barista in the one activating the pressure movement. Beside making extremely good coffee it’s very entertaining to see. When we asked for espresso macchiato, the barista asked us if we wanted to try it with a thick foam of cold semi-skimmed milk and we couldn’t say no. It was delicious.
In addition, the baristas are very friendly and do love having a chitchat while they were work and we were enjoying your treat.
DOLCE VITA IL BAR
This little place is literally a small shed next to a parking lot, conveniently located for all the students and teaches in the high schools’ district.
I am sure it would not catch your attention, but it’s really worth stopping. They are open from very early in the morning till very late at night and it’s one of those places made for great people-watching.
We placed our usual order and chat with the barista about the rain that was pouring outside and very briefly we were served our coffees and pastry. Two necessary notes at this point: the espresso macchiato was served in the cutest and most unusual cups (my mom knew what was coming and she couldn’t wait to see my reaction) and the cornetto alla crema was simply perfect.
Mention of honor goes to Maga Cacao
This cute little place in the city center regenerates the format of a teahouse into a modern setting and adds all the possible chocolate treats into the menu. Definitely a place for people with a sweet tooth.
Beside the counter where you can get tempted by all the cakes, pastries and cookies, they have a lot of tiny tables. In this way, they offer an alternative experience of a coffee break compared to Italian standards: it encourages you to take a sit, enjoy and relax.
For the specific research, they have good coffee and outstanding croissants. They are exceptionally more expensive at 1,20€, but they are generously filled right in front of your eyes with custard and one is almost too much to handle.
To wrap it up, when in Italy go to a bar for a coffee break, think in advance about how creative you want your order to be and wait at the counter. If you don’t speak the language, just entertain yourself with some people watching and I am sure you are going to have a great experience no matter what place you choose, the smallest the better usually.