Producer visits are essential part of importing Italian wine; only then are you able to truly understand the varietal in context. This May we were pampered by both of our Puglian producers: vineyard expeditions, lunches, dinners and private tours. Our stay in Lecce, or the Florence of the South was certainly one of the highlights of our trip.
Being a fan of the traditional Lecesse cream filled pastry Pasticcioto (not to worry the recipe is coming soon), this was high on my list of food musts. Our friend Giovanni, export manager for our producer Produttori Vini Manduria knew just the place. Set right in the center of Baroque Lecce, I was dubious as the quality since the Centro Storico or historic center of any Italian city generally attracts many tourists. Giovanni promptly ordered two pasticiotto accompanied by an iced short coffee drink called Caffe Leccese. Both the Pasticcioti and Caffe Leccese were extraordinary and we returned to the cafe, more times than I would care to admit.
Icy cold espresso with a splash of almond milk – so simple yet absolutely divine, and such a welcome treat in the heat of those Puglian summer days.
Naturally, freshly made almond milk is the obvious first choice, but who has time to do that. Your favorite commercially prepared almond milk is just fine – just select a brand that is unsweetened and unflavored.
This refreshing iced drink couldn’t be more straightforward, espresso, ice and almond milk. An alternative to a splash of almond milk is to prepare almond milk ice cubes. Adding a few of these to a chilled glass followed by a double shot of espresso prevents diluting the coffee flavor of your Caffe Leccese.
Either way, Caffe Leccesse is an absolute delight on a hot summer’s day – you don’t have to be in Puglia to enjoy it. Grazie Giovanni, for sharing the history and traditions of Salento…alla prossima.
- Almond milk ice cubes, prepared with unflavored unweeetened almond milk
- Double shot of freshly made espresso
- 2 chilled tumbler glasses
- Unsweetened, unflavored almond milk
- Sugar or simple syrup if desired
- Prepare the almond milk ice cubes by simply pouring almond milk into ice cube forms and have them available in your freezer.
- Place a few of the ice cubes into the chilled glasses. Pour the espresso over the ice and add a bit or sugar or simple syrup if desired. Pour a tablespoon or two of additional almond milk lightly stir and enjoy