I’ve been achingly nostalgic this week about Europe and every piece of me wants to go back as soon as I can. When talking to Matty about it, the biggest pull for me has been the cafe culture that I saw everywhere while in France and Italy earlier this spring. I miss the rows of colorful chairs, the outdoor heaters, the coffee in the morning, espressos at mid-day, and wine in the evenings – all enjoyed slowly and with friends. The mindset of sitting down and enjoying a cappuccino or espresso instead of putting it in a paper cup and running off to work is what got me thinking about how I can maybe enjoy my own little slice of cafe culture here at home.
I have an espresso maker, so I got the idea late last week to indulge a little in an afternoon espresso…. after all, who couldn’t use an afternoon pick-me-up? I will admit however, as non-European as it is, that I can’t drink espresso plain. Because I’m a wimp. So, I created the most perfect little mid-day sipper that I’m sure will become a new favorite with the most surprising ingredient.
To really get that flashback to the French cafes with their powdered chocolate garnishes, I needed just a hint of sweetness. I turned to Coffee-mate Caramel Macchiato flavored creamer but used it in a unique way. I know you’re thinking, “Erin, you’ve got to be kidding me. You’re going to replicate the purist cafe culture of Europe with coffee creamer”. How very American of me, no? But you won’t believe how lovely this little drink is until you try it. It’s not too sweet, since the aerated foam isn’t heavy, and it is just the right amount of cream and sweet to make you still feel like maybe you’re sitting in a French cafe. Since a macchiato is literally one part espresso with one part foamed milk, this is pretty on-point with the taste of a European Macchiato with sugar.
Most of us don’t have the ability at home to get the crema of our espresso and milk just right, so this little trick does wonders…. wonders, I tell you! All you need to do is get an inexpensive foamer (mine was $15 from Amazon) and whip up that creamer into the silkiest of foams. When the foam is just right, dollop it right on top of the espresso for a fabulous concoction that you have to taste to believe. I actually called Matt at work to let him know that I’d discovered the most perfect café.
Since the Coffee-mate Caramel Macchiato flavored creamer is a little salty/sweet it works so well with the espresso to create the perfect sweet treat without being overwhelming (especially since you don’t have to add any sugar). It’s almost like a slight hint of caramel accentuation the espresso rather than overpowering it… and in true Italian fashion, when you’re done drinking, there is a wonderful coffee and cream foam in the bottom of the cup that you can eat out with a spoon.
If Caramel isn’t your thing, you could go a little sweeter with Coffee-mate’s Toll House® Chocolate Chip Cookie flavored creamer or go totally classic with the Classic Vanilla.
Look at that foam! It throws me right back into the cafes of Paris! I feel like my blast of the European past is going to become a part of my everyday life, and I’m going to devote at least 20 minutes each afternoon to sitting down, having myself a little cup of this amazing caramel macchiato and indulging in the Europe-ness of it all. I hope you’ll give it a try!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Coffee-mate, recipes, opinions, and photography are all my own. Thank you so much for continuing to support the sponsors that enable us to deliver fresh (and delicious) content to you.