caffè al ginseng cannella carezze

Thanks to ginseng

by Alessandra Sorrentino

“Mummy wake uuuuup! My unicorn milk has finished; it’s not possible!!”.
Oh my goodness! What time is it?
“Yes, Arianna, I’m coming. I’m awake!”

7:00. The alarm has failed to ring… or maybe I turned it off while I was dreaming…sob! I’m late and Arianna is literally howling because she can’t find her unicorn milk or, rather, as always, once the capsule packet is finished she never goes to the cupboard to see if there’s another one. Ahhh, adolescence…sometimes I wonder if I drove my mum crazy in the same way when I was 14.
“Arianna, look in the cupboard; there’s another packet. Can you quickly make my ginseng coffee as well please! We’re really late!”.
It’s a difficult period for both if us. We’ve recently moved into a new house after the separation from my husband after a long period of crisis. We were two flatmates that lived under the same roof but we’d stopped being happy. Arianna rationally understood, but her heart still found it hard to accept. And then, a new city, a new school, new friends … starting everything again from scratch. But I look at her, with her blue hair – because this is her blue period, a bit like Picasso – and her unstoppable energy and I know that we’ll manage to get through it, even this time.
But it’s already 7:30!!
“Arianna, are you ready? Come on, I don’t want you to arrive late at school.”
“OK mum, stop whining. I’m ready. Here’s your coffee.”


Ah, praise be to ginseng coffee… especially on mornings when finding the energy to begin the day seems like a utopia. Just its fragrance switches on the neurones! And praise be to unicorn milk… managing to have breakfast with Arianna had become a Herculean task after discovering her gluten intolerance. Then, one day, in the new bar we went to for Sunday breakfast – our little weekend ritual since moving here – Fabrizio, the barman, seeing her sulking said to her, “I’ve got just the drink for you, blue like your hair. Do you want to try it?” And since then, Arianna has begun to have breakfast also at home, far from gluten and happy with her blue spirulina drink, and thanks to Fabrizio, who now and again gives us a couple of packets luckily compatible with my coffee machine at home.
Fabrizio… a pleasant surprise in my life.
I entered his bar which is near my office by chance one afternoon in which the rain was pouring down and I, as usual, was without an umbrella. I’d moved a few weeks before and I was still finding my way around the city, still finding my points of reference to gradually start to feel at home. Drenched from head to foot, I found myself at his bar counter with a cup of ginger and lemon drink in my hand. “Try it” Fabrizio said. “I discovered it a short time ago and I’ve become addicted!”
The drink was really good, so much so that then I called into the bar every day on my coffee break and I savoured it while chatting to Fabrizio with whom a sense of complicity and understanding developed which I hadn’t expected. In a short time he became not only my trusted barman, but also my confidant. By this time he knew everything about me, even what to prepare for me depending on my mood, which he read on my face without even having to talk to me: he knows when to give me ginseng with coconut sugar to give me a boost or when I need a macaccino anti-stress which comforts my soul when my colleagues have driven me crazy.


I take a sip and all my hesitation disappears. Love at first sip.
Viola stares at me; I smile back.

In actual fact, with him it’s more than just friendship, but the relationship has always remained platonic; maybe it’s not the right moment, maybe we’re both afraid… but Arianna is also fond of him. Sometimes on Sunday morning it’s hard to drag here away from the bar!
“This morning you’ve got a macaccino face… what’s up?”
Fabrizio, as ever, never fails.
“Thoughts… tonight Arianna is going away for the weekend to her dad and when she’s not here, at times, thoughts gather, and I begin to think of what’s happened recently and I get a bit sad.”
“Take this – and he hand me the cup – today it’s on the house, as long as you give me a smile.”
And without realising it, I find myself saying “If, tonight, you don’t close late and you’d like to come round, I’d like to try out a new recipe for chicken with almonds.”
He looks at me surprised… I’d always declined all of his invitations. He doesn’t reply; it’s not a good sign. Embarrassed, I say goodbye and go back to work.
The day drags by; I get back home, say goodbye to Arianna who gets in her dad’s car and says with a smile “OK, don’t worry mum. I’ll behave myself”.
I get back into the house, look at the chicken and put it in the freezer. I’ll go for something fast and easy. And while I’m quickly preparing a salad, the bell rings: I open the door and there’s Fabrizio, on the doorstep, with an ear-to-ear grin holding a packet of capsules for my favourite ginseng coffee. “Is the invitation to taste your chicken with almonds still valid? I think it’d go great with some ginseng coffee!”.