Wednesday, March 3, 2010

An Evening in Italy! After Dinner Espresso...

Hi everyone! I'm joining Susan at "Between Naps on the Porch" for "Tablescape Thursday" and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to sit down for a hot cup of espresso! 

But first...a little background on "espresso." 

        Espresso was invented in 1903 by Luigi Bezzerathe owner of a manufacturing business.  Mr. Bezzera longed to find a way to brew coffee much faster.  Wasting some time after work one day, he added pressure to the coffee brewing process, reducing brewing time.  The machine that he later introduced was termed the "Fast Coffee Machine", which is where the word "espresso" comes from...espresso means "fast" in Italian!  Not only did his machine reduce brewing time, it made a better cup of coffee.  The quick brewing time allowed the best qualities of the bean to be extracted, avoiding some of the unfavorable qualities associated with over-extraction.  Luigi Bezzera was not at all successful in marketing the machine, and he had no money.

    Desidero Pavoni bought the rights to the espresso machine patent in 1905 and successfully introduced espresso to the Italian market.  Photographs from the turn of the century depict Italian Klosks serving "CAFE ESPRESSO - LA PAVONI".  This was a very common site in Italy.  Desidero Pavoni changed the way Italians drink coffee. (From "The History of Espresso" HERE)

We will be having our espresso in a lovely demitasse set I bought in Sacile, Italy at one of the outdoor markets. 

Oh...I thought you might like to see what Sacile looks like...

This is a stock photo of Sacile.  Below is a photo from the same vantage point my husband took...

And the market...

We have stayed several times at the Hotel Due Leoni, in the background of this photo, which you can visit HERE.

Besides the obviously American tourist in this photo, notice how everyone is dressed?? I think every person I saw looked so chic and nice. And you should see the shoes in the stores. If you love shoes like I do...stop! Enough of that!!

Ok, let's keep going! I'll show you a few more photos of this beautiful town before we have our coffee...

Ok, it's time to come back to North Carolina where we are covered in 8 inches of snow...

Each cup and saucer is different...

I thought the Mexican Talavera candle holders were perfect with the bold colors of the Italian cups...

I was so happy to use these vintage cocktail napkins because the colors were just perfect! 

I also bought the spoons at the same market. 

Notice the stovetop espresso pot? My husband told me his mother in Puerto Rico used this kind of pot so I bought one. I had used the electric espresso/cappuccino makers before, but I can tell you this makes the best espresso ever! It's so easy too. We typically don't use steamed milk, which would be the only thing this pot can't do. You can buy one HERE.

I LOVED the coffee there so much, but being a typical American, I needed more than a little "shot" of espresso! 

We do love our coffee and I think both of us love the coffee in Italy and Turkey best. We'll visit Turkey and have coffee there next time...

Where it all came from:
Demitasse cups, saucers and spoons-- Sacile, Italy
Espresso Pot--"The Kitchen Shop," Waynesville, NC
Aluminum Tray-- my dad made:-)
Gold napkins-- World Market a few years ago
Cocktail Napkins-- vintage from my family collection
Talavera Candle Holders-- TJ Maxx about 4 years ago
Vase-- Vintage

I hope you enjoy our espresso and our visit to Sacile, Italy:-) Thank you so much for stopping by, and for the lovely comments. And thanks for letting me see all your wonderfully creative ideas!!



  1. Love it, love it, love it! I don't like espresso, but I love your cups and adore the pictures. Isn't it funny that you can pick an American out in any foreign country so easily! I just love Europe and all the traditions. I always say I felt like life there was what life in the 50's had to be like. Your kids could bike to the next town to buy ice cream, walking to the local bakery to get a loaf of bread and some good gossip. Being there a few weeks ago, made me really miss it! I really enjoyed your post. It gave me just a taste of Italy!

  2. What lovely images and the way you told the story. Just wonderful.

  3. Anita, those little coffee pots do make great expresso. Love the pictures, it makes me want to go back overseas. My husband and I were stationed in Sicily for 3 years. We were able to travel to Italy and Germany as well!!. Beautiful tablescape!! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Beautiful setting! And I love espresso with a little lemon zest! Those are really neat cups and saucers too, I enjoyed the little history lesson!

  5. Blondie's JournalMarch 3, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    Sacile is beautiful and you were so fortunate to visit. I love all the pretty canals and waterways.

    I am also loving your espresso cups and saucers. I was happy to hear that you use the stove top espresso pot because I would love to make my own but the machines are so pricey. And of course they do everything but wash the dishes!

    Great post! :-)


  6. Kim @ Savvy Southern StyleMarch 3, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    Anita, great history about espresso. My son's father-n-law brings his pot like that with him in his suitcase and makes himself a cup of espresso. I didn't have the tiny cups like they use so I pulled out one of my small china cups since a mug was way too big.

  7. Adorable cups with their "donut" style handles- your setting is lovely with your attention to detail. I'd like to hear more about shoe heaven!!!!!!! Agree with your comment about europeans looking more put together as a whole than most Americans.

    Enjoyed your photo tour of Italy-great addition to your espresso shots.

  8. Pam - @diy Design FanaticMarch 3, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    Gorgeous photos of Italy! There is a little part of Long Beach, CA called Naples that has canals in between the houses just like the 2nd photo. For one of our anniversaries my husband took me on a gondola ride. It was fun. Would love to go to Italy some day. Thanks for posting.

  9. I love this post! Great photos from Italy and really like your tablescape too. Nice vignette. I look forward to your next tablescape - you do a great job!

  10. Nancy's Daily DishMarch 3, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    Interesting read, thank you. Now, may I please have a cup of your wonderful espresso? What a cute set of demitasse cups!

  11. Mid-Atlantic MarthaMarch 3, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    Oh this all looks wonderful -- loved your pictures and the tour of Italy.

  12. Beautiful! Loved the tour of Italy, too.


  13. Allie and PattieMarch 3, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    I have those espresso pots in every size- I grew up with them. Espresso and cappucino are served every day here- lovely post
    xoxo Pattie

  14. Yellow Rose ArborMarch 3, 2010 at 8:25 PM

    Very interesting! Beautiful photographs! I'm not a coffee drinker, but love those expresso cups!

    Thank you for giving me the name of my green glasses.


  15. Katie@LeBeauPaonVictorienMarch 4, 2010 at 6:50 AM

    Wonderful! Thanks for sharing this--I'm a trivia junkie, but I didn't know the origin of espresso. I loved seeing the pictures of Italy too!!! My father's family is from Italy and I've always dreamed of going there!

  16. Beautiful espresso service! I have never been to Italy, just Little Italy here in NY..:)

  17. *Chic Provence*March 4, 2010 at 7:35 AM

    Ahh! such a lovely little trip for this gray chilly morning! ready for my espresso now!


  18. Red Couch RecipesMarch 4, 2010 at 7:41 AM

    What a beautiful trip to Italy! Love your tablesetting.

  19. I'll take a cup, right now! And thanks for the get-away to Sacile, what a fantastic place, thank you for sharing.

  20. Screaming MemeMarch 4, 2010 at 8:17 AM

    I loved the pictures you added...So lovely! I'm Meme from Screaming Meme...It is so nice to meet you! If you get a chance, stop in and say Hello! Meme

  21. I love espresso, no cream, no sugar, please! Cute cups/saucers and candle holders.

  22. lovely photos and a great lesson i love expresso i got my first pot in little italy nyc i have one like yours also a big machine so i can make the froth all myfriend love comming over for cappuccino thanks for the great post

  23. Hi Anita! Oh, how lovely! I love Italy but have never been to that place. It's beautiful. Been to Rome, Florence and Pompeii and a few little towns in between. The folks to dress up more, don't they?
    Oh, I love your espresso set and your candlesticks look so nice with it. I think the coffee server is so nice. I've seen those before but wasn't sure what it was exactly. I'm not a coffee drinker so I don't know much coffee stuff? :) You're just so smart about coffee info!
    Now you can borrow my wine bucket just any ole time, Dear One!
    Be a sweetie,
    shelia ;)

  24. Oh, love it, and the stories. We drink espresso every morning. It's a staple in our home.

    Nice to meet you!

  25. Love your espresso set and pictures. Have a great evening!

  26. Melissa MillerMarch 4, 2010 at 7:34 PM

    Anita how gorgeous is this! Italian decor is my all time favorite. What a stunning place!

    ~Blessings, ~Melissa :)

  27. The TablescaperMarch 4, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    So pretty - the town and your purchases. What a great set of cups and saucers.

    - The Tablescaper

  28. Carol at SerendipityMarch 5, 2010 at 1:49 AM


    What a wonderful post. I have an electric espresso machine and use it every day for cappuccino - I love the frothy milk. Your cups are wonderful and I love the candlesticks.

    Thank you for stopping by.


  29. I feel like I just went on a mini vacation with you! Lovely photos of Sacile. We've been to Italy but missed that city. Thanks for sharing it & your pretty coffee service. I'm a tea drinker but that doesn't stop me from appreciating such beautiful cups!! :D


  30. Looks like a BEAUTIFUL place!!