A warm cafe is, I have decided, the only place in which I want to spend a rainy Sunday morning. Think about it for a moment: staying in your house on a rainy day can make you feel like a lazy bum, having a nice breakfast is non-neogtiable and you can go home immediately after to change out of your soppy clothes. In New York, I have my favorite places that I know will always provide me with a beautiful experience.
Unfortunately, it’s not always so straightforward in Italy. The cultural differences between the Italian bar and my cafe cloud my eyes and make me panic, all too often leaving me to forget how to enjoy a slow Sunday morning. I forget how to sit and read. I forget how to invite friends to breakfast and I can’t phone my parents. These cultural differences are anxiety inducing, but, every now and then, you come across a gem that reminds you how to cafe.
Caffè Coloniale in Verona was one of those spots that reminded me how to cafe in my most authentic manner. A rainy morning, plenty of space to sit and time to spare; it was glorious.
The day before, in Vicenza, I bought the Gambero Rosso guidebook to I Bar d’Italia 2013. Immediately, I consulted the book for the best places to drink coffee in Verona. They recommended several places, but Caffè Coloniale caught my eye. Luckily, I would say. The cafe is large by Italian standards, large by American standards and especially large for a modern, neighborhood Italian bar.
I walked in and, trasversing the maze, sat down at a banquet seat with a comfy chair nearby. It was comfortable, with low lighting but a distinctly elegant Italian edge. Almost a few seconds after I sat down, a waitress/barista bounced on over and took my order. It wasn’t different, brioche vuota e cappuccino scuro.
They came quite quickly. The snow-white (or milky white) foam looked delicious. The brioche was covered in a sticky coating that served for nothing except to make eating awkward. I tried to rip pieces off, only to have a sticky residue left on my fingers. I tried to wrap the brioche in a napkin, only to have the paper stick to the pastry.
The content, unfortunately, couldn’t overcome the cover. There was the Italian, chemically orange aroma that can be good, when it doesn’t taste like it was partially formed by mixing Orange 34 and Rhum 8, but by natural ingredients. The cappuccino was a disappointment as well. It was milky, milky with a hint of milk. One of those drinks that could only be saved by being served at a scorching temperature, Starbucks style.
Although I may not have enjoyed the food, the space made up for it. I was thrilled to sit, thrilled to have the time to prepare for my day. After all, it may have been dreary day, but with a calm start I was able to have a beautiful time in Verona.
How do you enjoy spending rainy weekend mornings?