If you say coffee, especially if you say espresso, Italy immediately comes to mind; tradition has it that a cup of coffee at the bar is part of everyday life: At different points in the day, it is not uncommon to hear the question "Shall we go for coffee?", which is a true classic when you meet on our streets. It means that you want to talk for a few moments at the bar counter, but also that you want to spend more time and sit comfortably at a table, perhaps taking advantage of the free morning paper or having a more relaxed chat. Deep down, despite the information about the benefits, we Italians are never really convinced about considering breakfast as a real meal, as happens in good part of the rest of the world, and only recently has there been a glimpse of excellent signs of change.
That's why I decided to interview Laura Comoglio who, along with Simone Tolomelli, created The Breakfast Review website, a real certainty about breakfast in Italy.
How did The Breakfast Review come about?
From a happy obsession about breakfast shared with my husband Simone, and about the quality of a cappuccino at the right temperature. Our friends talked about the best restaurants, the best pizza and risotto, but we analysed and gave votes to each bar or pastry shop you care to mention, first to find and then to try the best breakfasts; of course, we started with Milan, which is where we live. In October 2011, we took the decision and designed the site with lots of ready-to-use maps and reviews written by us and some collaborators. The response was super positive and the following year even inspired us to create even an app for iPhones; soon we hope to be able to offer the same opportunity for androids.
How do you give ratings?
The TBR rating is generated by many parameters: quality, location, friendliness and attention to customers, and then also a range of services: from the possibility of paying with a credit card to the availability of parking.
Within the site, there’s also a blog where you speak in more detail about breakfast…
Yes, every week there’s a guest food blogger who writes a breakfast recipe: cakes, croissants, delicious biscuits and many other preparations for when you wake up. This is also a way of communicating how important this moment is to devote to yourself and those you love.
Let's talk about Milan, what is the custom in the morning?
It’s definitely coffee or cappuccino with croissant, which is called cornetto in Rome, but don’t dare say that in Milan: they wouldn’t understand you!
Good Save The Food
Not all bars in the centre are a certainty and beware of distracted bartenders serving boiling hot cappuccino or freshly thawed brioches. What would you recommend in the centre?
There’s Ottimo Massimo near the Duomo which offers a nice variety of fantastic pastries and a delicious cappuccino, but also cereals and yoghurt. In Corso Magenta there’s Marchesi which serves classic Italian pastries and where the furnishings have preserved the original atmosphere of the early 1900s.
Then there’s Pavè, a pastry shop with an open-view laboratory run by a group of young guys who bake a limited variety of cakes and pastries, focusing on quality and freshness. We’re looking at some new proposals in the city: not just the classic Italian breakfast but several places that offer a more international breakfast, like California Bakery which offers recipes for American-style breakfast using excellent Italian ingredients.
There’s the Sissi pastry shop with French-style brioches and cakes, which for years has been a certainty for the Milanese who wish to spend more time over breakfast at the weekend. In the Isola neighbourhood, they say that Matteo, a partner in the Blue Bar is so calm and happy that he manages to make the atmosphere incredibly relaxed, and that this has also become an attraction together with the excellent breakfast.
To those who want to move to the Navigli area, we recommend God Save The Food in Via Tortona, which offers a decidedly international breakfast in a bright and spacious atmosphere.
And for the rest of Italy?
Download the app. The reviews of all Italian cities are increasing before your very eyes!