The Collection

Caffè espresso con zabaione

ph @mangiawithmichele

Caffè (espresso) con zabaione (sweet custard cream) with mascarpone
Bar in Trastevere, Roma⁠

Flashback to a few years back, when I was in Rome for a couple of days, I stopped into a corner bar for my required afternoon java, and saw that the barista was placing a little dollop of this beautiful, creamy concoction on the espresso of the (clearly) regular customer standing next to me.⁠

Of course, I looked intrigued (and might have been drooling a bit) as I watched this happening.⁠

What was this creamy coffee topping sitting in a large bowl on the counter, and why was I not offered it? (I imagine it’s not something that the stranieri are generally into, but didn’t this barista realize that I was a ‘food person’ and liked to try things like this?)⁠

I had never seen this in the hundreds of caffè I’d drunk over the years in bars in Italy.⁠

As I was searching my brain for the words in Italian to ask the barista about it, he (thankfully) asked if I wanted some zabaione too?⁠

Of course, I said yes nonchalantly, like I had had it a million times before. Normale.⁠

It was a happy afternoon that day.⁠