Cornetto Chronicles: Maggi

Sitting down to take your breakfast isn’t a given in Italy.  I certainly wish it was.  Despite the fact that Italian towns close down for two and a half hours during the middle of the day for lunch, breakfast is done at lightening speed (or, perhaps, that is the reason that breakfast is eaten so quickly).  They also don’t grasp the difference between breakfast and dessert, but that’s a different post.

After two weeks of traveling, I was ready to try another cafe in Pavia (this is, for the record, nearly a month ago).  The weather was just finally starting to feel fall-like and I was eager to cuddle up and enjoy a lazy day.  I went outside and was greeted with a pleasant drizzle and a nearly empty town.  As I walked through the streets, I hoped that I would be able to find a lovely place to eat.  There were no plans this morning, I was going to let the day lead me to where I needed to go.

I walk by Maggi, a cafè/pasticceria, everyday on my way to university.  It’s in the middle of the main street — Strada Nuova — and always seems to be crowded with well-heeled women sitting in the three small tables at the window.  They serve everything from cookies to cakes and coffee and brioche.  The decor is, unfortunately, a bit reminiscent of Patisserie Valerie.  All of that combined forces to keep me away for a bit.  When I walked by and saw and empty table looking straight onto the street, however, I knew that it was the morning when I would be able to say that I tried Maggi.

The place is small inside and decorated in a way that both reminds you of a chic cafe and your grandmother’s living room.  The decor is both elegant and chintzy.  It’s very Italian.  I sat down and, almost immediately, someone came over to ask me what I would like.  Un cappuccino e un cornetto vuoto, per piacere.

My pastry and coffee arrived together mere seconds later.  I took a surreptious photo, aware at how small the cafe was.  Behind me, there were two elderly chic women chatting about this and that in an emphatic Italian manner.  In front of me, a woman sat reading a newspaper.  I heard Ma Dai! at least five times in the space of two minutes.

There wasn’t any sticky topping to this brioche, thankfully.  I tried a bit of the schiuma of my cappuccino, lovely.  Perhaps not silky smooth, but delicious.  I ripped off a piece of my cornetto and daintly ate it.  The pastry was a bit dry, but there was a nice textural difference between the inside and the outside.  It wasn’t overly sweet and there were layers guys, layers!  It reminded me a bit of the brioche that my mother and I had at Sant Ambroeus, which wasn’t a bad thing.

I slowly ate, taking my sweet time (how un-Italian of me) and looking out the window.  There were only a few people out, clutching their umbrellas despite the fact that rain wasn’t heavy.  I dipped some pieces of my cornetto into my cappuccino, the crispy outside made the perfect partner for the schiuma.  It was also good when soaked in coffee, though I prefer it straight.

My cappuccino was also surprisingly good and tasted like coffee.  After a shorter time than I would have liked to linger, but an appropriately Italian amount, I paid certain in the knowledge that I would be returning again to enjoy a cornetto in that little window.

Patisserie Valerie only wishes they could be Maggi.

Do you like rainy days?  What’s your favorite rainy day activity?


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