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Valdostana Coffee: tradition and interesting facts

Valdostana Coffee: tradition and interesting facts

Today we are going to tell you the story and reveal some secrets about how to prepare Valdostana coffee, the typical drink from Valle d’Aosta, which is traditionally served in the loving.

Passed down from father to son, this cup (which should not be confused with the valdostana cup) is a symbol of brotherhood and friendship for the inhabitants of this region.

So, having already talked about the uses and customs connected with Neapolitan coffee , we head to the North West of Italy, towards the mountains, to discover a drink which is as yet still relatively unknown.

The tradition of the valdostana cup

The valdostana cup is a typical traditional craft product from the Valle d’Aosta region, whose tradition has been passed down for generations.

This is essentially a type of cup made of wood, with a lid which has many spouts that you can drink from.

The local craftsmen are at pains to point out the difference between the traditional cup, which is taller and used for drinking wine, and the loving cup, which was created for drinking coffee.

In both cases, production of these drinking vessels is strictly by traditional craftsmen, made using a lathe and decorated by hand.

Historically used for sharing a drink, either local wine or Valdostana coffee, the antiquity of this practice is also confirmed by the origins of the term “grolla” (cup) .

In fact, it derives directly from the word “graal”, which in the Langue d’Oil meant “receptacle” or “jug”. It allowed wine to be served and drunk during medieval banquets.

Valdostana coffee served in the loving cup

The loving cup which is used today to serve and share coffee is the most evolved version of this vessel: shorter, with a decorated lid and, above all, with the spouts for drinking.

The coffee is prepared strictly according to the traditional method, in other words adding grappa and genepì, a typical liqueur made with artemisia, to the espresso.

The genepì liqueur, which is produced using wild plants or plants grown only within the region, has a minimum of 25% alcohol and a light color and strong flavor.

As the name suggests, the rituals of consuming Valdostana coffee are fundamental.

It was actually specifically created to be shared, and the rule states that the loving cup must be passed directly from hand to hand without ever being set down on the table.

This is in order to enjoy to the full the conviviality of the moment and spend time with those closest to you after a day in the mountains, either in summer or in winter.

The coffee has been served in this way ever since it originated way back in about the 15th century, probably starting in Cogne.

In fact it is also known as café à la cognèntse (Coffee in Cogne style) in patois, the dialect of Valle d’Aosta.

The recipe for Valdostana coffee

Now all we need to do is find out the recipe for preparing Valdostana coffee.

If you don’t happen to have a typical loving cup, the coffee may also be served in normal small espresso cups, provided that it is prepared in a suitable container and you share the consumption of the drink, as required by the long-standing tradition.

Ingredients for 6 people

● 6 shots of caffè espresso

● 4 shot glasses of white grappa

● 4 shot glasses of genepì

● 2 shot glasses of cognac

● lemon or orange peel, to taste

● sugar to taste

● cinnamon to taste

● cloves to taste


1. Prepare the coffees and pour them into the loving cup;

2. add the sugar and stir well until dissolved;

3. separately, carefully mix the liqueurs, before adding them to the coffee;

4. complete the preparation by adding the pieces of lemon or orange peel and the spices to taste;

5. finally, flambé the coffee and, once the alcohol has evaporated, start sharing the drink.

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