Thursday, October 21, 2010


I am officially a convert, and not the only one. Something happens when the best possible version of a given product is available just two blocks away. It seems to melt even your most ardent convictions and standards for yourself. I have, for most of my life been able to avoid getting hooked, while still enjoying the occasional indulgence of this particular substance. The enjoyment of it has always been high, but I know it's effects on me are stronger than for most, so I have avoided regularity of consumption, in kindess to my body.

That is until recently.....

It all started with trying to coax myself out of jet lag, and then continued with the demands of running a household, parenting and homeschooling in a place far from home, without speaking the language. When I first started trying to reduce I had intense headaches of withdrawal. Then I succeeded in getting it down to every other day, and that seems to be the best I will be able to do until we leave.

In case you are wondering, I am talking about coffee, and not just any coffee. I have had some of the best coffee in North America. I have been to the Blue Bottle in San Francisco, I occasionally patronize some of the more remarkable coffe shops on Vancouver Island with organic and/or ethical and yet yummy drinks. I gluttonously enjoy a coffee a few time a month, normally. Frankly, there is nothing that could have prepared me for the allure of European coffee, and within that; Italian coffee, and within that; L'Altroverso. I have now had amazing swiss coffee, and fantastic Italian coffee in multiple urban centres. However, the best of the best of the best is Altroverso, here in Pavia. Which happens to be just up the road from us. And it happens to have dissolved all my pre-conceived ideas about my own consumption of the beverage. I fantasize about it.

The funny thing is that it isn't just me. My Man is a notorious coffee aficionado, and unabashedly hooked. Friends who have stayed with us here or visited, and are just as well traveled (or more so) and either as much of an aficionado as my Man or as previously coffee-averse as I was (or more so) are all hooked, and not one of us regret it for a second. I am not sure how this fixation of mine will work out when I eventually leave, but who knows, maybe it will make it easier to avoid coffee in North America? Where could I possibly go from here?

We go to L'Altroverso pretty much daily, greeted by the smiling faces you can see by following the link. They have all sorts of food and sweets as well but we go always for cappucinos, or "cappuc", and sometimes the yummy cream or marmalade filled croissants or "crema brioche". The cappucinos are warm without being too hot, sizeable without being vast. The milk is frothy and the espresso is so smooth and flavourful that I never need to use sugar; there is just no bitterness. We sometimes sit down at the little tables in the shop or stand at the bar and quickly but gratefully gulp it down, other times one of us gets a few to go and brings them to the others. They are always always very very good. This is the coffee that dreams are made of.

1 comment:

  1. As I read this, I am suffering from a terrible cup of coffee. I am so sad that you pretty much need to map out the handful of decent spots in this city to get a good cup of coffee. As I choke down this swill, from a shop I promise to never return to, I will try and live vicariously through you.