22 April 2015

Breakfast: an ineffable and varied morning ritual for every country. Our breakfast suggestions at Casabella-Lago Maggiore-B&B


an ineffable and varied

morning ritual from all over the world

Casabella - Lago Maggiore - B and B

satisfies all its guests

Carlo Petrini, Italian gastronome and writer, founder of the Slow Food movement, asserts that our breakfast ritual “tells us who we are”. Wherever we are in the world, we just need to take a look around and immerse ourselves in the surrounding environment to get an idea of people’s needs, starting from their food habits and the way they start their day off. Many factors must be taken into account, like the climate (hot or cold), the landscape (sea or mountains), the workplace (city or countryside), the rhythms ruling one’s workday. Here’s why Petrini mentions some very different examples: his joy when he found himself in a hotel in Stockholm, looking out a glass wall and eating herrings at a huge breakfast buffet. Or the amazement of taking part in the “Fair of the fat ox” in Carrù, whose sumptuous breakfast, after the award ceremony at 5 a.m., consisted of boiled meat.

Breakfast for the average Italian, typically eaten in a bar, standing

If a British couldn’t take the time to eat his eggs and bacon, toast and sausage with a spoon of beans before facing his busy workday, he would have a hard time making it to the end of the day. And if a Mexican couldn’t do the same with the products of his land, chicken, eggs, corn tortillas, bread and hot sauces, it would be hard for him to stay on his feet until night. The same for the average American, if he hadn’t his fruit juice, maple syrup and pancakes with eggs and ham.

Typical breakfasts from different cultures: from the top 1) UK (toast, eggs, mushrooms, beans), 2) China (rice porridge with fried bread sticks, called “Congee”), 3) Mexico (triangles of fried corn tortillas, called Chilaquiles, with chicken, eggs and hot sauce), 4) Venezuela (corn flatbreads filled with cheese, chicken, eggs and avocado), 5) Japan (soup of miso, tofu, pickles, plums, smoked or boiled fish, rice, Nori seaweed), 6) Iceland (oatmeal with raisin, brown sugar and black coffee, called Hafragrautur), 7) France (croissant, tea, milk, slices of bread with chocolate), 8) USA (pancakes with maple syrup, eggs, bacon and orange juice), 9) Spain – Catalonia (bread, fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce, extra virgin olive oil and salt).

A typical breakfast meal in Japan consists of boiled or smoked fish, with soups of miso and tofu, pickled and plums, Nori seaweed and rice. In China, the main dish is Congee, a rice porridge served with fried bread sticks. In Venezuela, people eat corn flatbreads filled with chicken, eggs, cheese, avocado, salad. In Spain, it is outrageous not to find on the table toasted slices of bread with tomatoes, fresh or in sauce, extra virgin olive oil and salt (something very similar to the Italian “bruschetta”). In Iceland it is a custom to have a big cup of oatmeal with raisin, coffee and brown sugar

Here’s an overview of the most typical breakfast meals in different countries of the world!

Cold or hot milk and coffee are the only ingredients all breakfast meals have in common, regardless of the latitude. The taste of coffee, whether it’s expresso or filtered coffee, decaffeinated or instant coffee, is the set piece of any breakfast worthy of its name, at least in western countries.

Despite knowing that breakfast is among the most awaited moments for every tourist, hotels tend to offer ready-made snacks, single serve jelly packets, fruit juices with low fruit content, packed croissants and cookies. Those who offer something better, usually 5-star hotels, provide self-service machines for coffee and milk, melted cheese and shoulder ham. Eggs, if any, are cooked earlier and heated up with steam, never prepared on the spot.

In the north-western Italian region of Piedmont, there’s a B&B called Casabella, which has become well-known among its customers and in reviews on travel guide books for its breakfasts for all tastes. They consist of eggs and vegetables, bacon and Parmesan cheese, fresh goat cheese, robiola and ricotta cheese, caprese salads with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. All dishes go with milk and coffee of any kind, from americano to expresso, decaffeinated or ginseng, caffè d’orzo (made with barley) or instant coffee, orange and grapefruit juices.  Not to mention toasted bread, butter and jellies, homemade chocolate cakes or tarts from the bakery, sometimes with whipped cream and seasonal fruit. 

Breakfasts at CASABELLA – Lago Maggiore are made with the double desire of offering to guests the Italian taste and adapting to the culinary features of every country. They are served in rooms of modern design, in a homey environment rich in art and beauty, between libraries, paintings and drawings, with a good, but not ordinary background music, pleasant to anybody’s ear. Starting from coffee and milk, toasted bread, butter and jelly, we get on to tomatoes and basil dishes, caprese salads, hard-boiled and scrambled eggs, omelettes, fried eggs with or without cheese, bacon and pan-fried vegetables. Pies are homemade or from the bakery and they are an extra to croissants or baked fruit pastries, sprinkled with powdered sugar or honey. Cornflakes, yogurt and seasonal fruit are never missing. 

Enrico Mercatali

Lesa, April 22nd, 2015
(traduzione dall'italiano di Penelope Mirotti)

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