No Cappuccino After Fried Food | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

My mind is full of memories of long-lasting friendships, excellent food and stunning places. I just returned into my realities after leading a group traveling with me to Puglia, Italy and now I want to trace back my footsteps into that ancient world.

Eating in Italy is an experience. Nobody will ever find bad food anywhere in the country even when the eatery place is not fancy and looks more like a hole in the wall. One day, we went to Putignano to eat at San Domenico’s fisherman shop. We met Tommy the owner, he asked us to choose the fish we wanted and prepared it the way we wanted. The place as I said was a fisherman shop, where Tommy created a simple restaurant in the back side, under arches made of ancient tufa stones, stone floor, no tablecloth on tables only black paper mats, plastic dishes, simple cutlery and simple glasses. Diners looked happy, the atmosphere was a low key, familiar style, all signs that told us “food here is more than good” and I felt encouraged to eat in the fisherman shop.

We chose mixed fried fish, shrimps salad with arugula, grilled calamari and octopus accompanied by a chilled Verdeca wine. Boy, it was a century since I had last drunk Verdeca! My grandfather produced it in his vineyard, it was abundant in our homes, but after he sold the land, enjoying my Verdeca at dinner ended abruptly. That was a refreshing memory both ways. This pale-yellow color wine was chilled to the right temperature, needless to say, it went down so pleasantly, we only felt it later after lunch, when we got up from the table and got struck by the somnolent early afternoon heat.

I showed my American guests how to eat fried fish with hands and they copied my action. A fish with a spine it is supposed to be eaten as if playing an harmonica: bite into the flesh of the fish from the tale, up to the head and back until is all gone on one side, repeat the harmonica style eating on the other side until the spine is all clean. That was an enterprise for them, but they had good time learning.

We finished this delightful lunch with a limoncello, as it is customary to drink some type of spirit at the end of fried and grilled fish or other food containing oil.

Milk and oil don’t agree in the stomach, oil will curdle the milk and produce acidity. Cappuccino in Italy is not drunk past 10:00 am anymore, it is considered a breakfast drink only and not an after-dinner drink.
Our guests….well….as all Americans, drank cappuccino at the end of each meal…..and disgusted Italian people.
“When in Rome do as the Romans”. Ciao



Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val in ParadiseI am writing a travel diary of my last trip to Puglia with an American group and sharing with all of you my notes of feelings, observations, food-wine tasting and experiences that have changed the life of people traveling with me. The trips I organize are made for people who want to live it up in Puglia! Find Valentina’s books on


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Other Side of Ugly - Letters to Humanity
    May 27, 2014 @ 02:12:28

    That’s so interesting to hear you say Valentina. I am Italian, my mother and all her family were born in Italy. I lived in Firenze for years and owned a restaurant there as well.

    Usually my Italian clients would come around 4ish to have a capuch and sit to chat and smoke. Also, rarely did an Italian cap off a meal with an alcoholic beverage, unless it was an occasion.

    It’s so interesting how each person walks away with a different understanding of a culture isn’t it?

    To this day, my Zia and her friends (who live near Venice) have a Cappuchino in the afternoon. But we ALL agree that we usually wouldn’t have one AFTER any meal. That’s saved for the espresso!

    Thanks for sharing this with people. It’s nice to share with others how to authentically experience other cultures.




    • Valentina
      May 27, 2014 @ 18:12:33

      Sherry, it is interesting indeed, as all the Italians I know don’t drink cappuccino after 10:00 am and amaro or digestivo and espresso are drank after all meals. Perhaps in colder regions in North Italy cappuccino is largely used to warm up, but certainly not after meals. Thanks for taking the time to comment.



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