Coffee has a long, proud history in Italy. Venice was one of the first European cities to import coffee beans back in the 16th century, and the espresso that's become synonymous with Italian cafes was created in Milan in 1901. And of course, the word barista is Italian though and through! Famous for its rich, dark roasts, Italy's coffee is considered by aficionados as some of the most complex, robust and powerfully caffeinated in the world. Guido Nannini embraced this tradition in the early 1900s and the Nannini brand was born when he opened Ideal Bar in Siena in 1919. A pioneer of slow roasting when it was a little-known art in Italy, Guido paved the way for the many 'oohs' and 'ahhs' heard over espressos in the Sienese cafe today. Guido's nephew, Alessandro, took the wheel at Nannini after hanging up his Formula 1 driving suit, and he now runs several landmark cafes and pasticcerie in Siena. It's testament to Guido's passion for coffee that Nannini's elegant cafes have endured – the perfect pitstop for your early morning caffeine fix on a tour around Tuscany.
Forget Florentines, the biscuits of Siena are thought of as the quintessential Italian treat. This region's recipes are passed down through the generations, just as Nannini's have passed from Guido to Alessandro. Whether it's twice-baked biscotti or crunchy cantuccini, each one is made with traditional artisanal techniques, rich with butter and luxurious flecks of chocolate, orange and nuts. But it's the love that Nannini pours into each of their bakes that makes them truly special. While they might be decadent now, Italian biscuits have humble origins. Cantuccini – which comes from the Latin cantellus meaning 'piece of bread' – were once the dry crust of a sweet loaf eaten by peasants. It was the Italian noblewoman Catherine de' Medici who added almonds (an excellent choice) to make the cantucci we know and love today. Nannini takes invention one step further, with combinations like chocolate and orange, pear and cinnamon, and walnut and fig.
The best place to enjoy a cup of Nannini coffee and cantucci is at the Nannini cafe in Siena. The second best place is in your home. From the moment your Italian delicacies arrive, you'll enjoy an authentic experience. The coffee comes sealed in tins painted with the luscious red berries of the coffee plant, and all the whimsy of a Tuscan farmhouse. Biscotti boxes are shaped just like those you'd find in any Italian deli, perfect for grabbing biscuits by the handful. Dunking isn't frowned upon in Italy – in fact, it's encouraged! Crunchy cantucci are literally designed to soak up a frothy cappuccino (or sweet vin santo wine ;-). At its heart, Nannini celebrates the classic flavours of Italy: coffee, almonds and figs. So no matter where you are in the world when you tuck into breakfast, you can close your eyes and imagine you're in the rolling hills of deepest Tuscany, breakfasting like a king…or a Medici queen.