While eating at a Milanese osteria on Sunday with Italian clients, I politely declined a lunchtime liqueur to wash down my risotto. I pointed out that I needed to work in the afternoon and the consumption of alcohol tended to affect my performance in a somewhat adverse way. (My performance is always adversely affected when I’m snoring loudly.)
It was at this point that I committed a bit of a faux pas. I suggested that I might have a cappuccino.
Apparently, this is a complete no-no after lunch in Italia. The milky coffees are for breakfast time. Cue much embarrassment on Philippo’s part. It’s one thing they didn’t teach me in the HSBC advertising campaigns, but hey, you live and learn.
In Spain, it’s the opposite, if I remember right. My old friend Tony who used to live out there said that breakfast was usually a double espresso with a Cognac chaser. But, come to think of it, that might just have been Tony.