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Topping Off A Gourmet Meal With Coffee

Aug 17, 2007
Coffee is not only universal, but controversial.

It is a strange fact that other people's coffee often seems mysteriously to be more delicious than your own. This is possibly an extension of the basic premise that any meal you did not cook will seem excellent.

There are approximately a hundred ways to make coffee - (yes, there are!) - but there is probably only one way that suits you. Our personal preference is a Chemex - but in the past we have loved percolators - and in our extreme youth, we knew how to make delicious boiled coffee with an egg shell!

So the method of making coffee - and the particular blend that suits you - are a very personal matter with which you must cope experimentally. But since a good cup of coffee is distinctively American, this is worthy of your determined experimentation.

Coffee-makers are not exorbitant in price; you can afford to buy several different kinds for personal testing. (The ones you don't like will be enormously helpful when you give a big party!)

Nearly all packaged coffees are similar in price; try one after another, until you find the blend you prefer.

Special coffees are a different matter. Generally available is an Italian Espresso coffee. French coffee usually contains a great deal of roasted chicory (in order to stretch the coffee which France does not produce in sufficient quantity), and is therefore slightly bitter.

Turkish coffee is a powder, brewed strong and served very sweet in small cups. It can be bought (by mail, if necessary) from Charles & Co., New York City.

Check out some of these coffee recipes to top off your gourmet dinner.

Cafe Au Lait

The true French cafe au lait is a balance of hot milk and strong coffee.

Heat equal parts of milk and heavy cream very gently in a double boiler - one cup each. Pour the hot cream-milk into one pitcher - and fill a second with fresh strong hot coffee.

Serve by pouring simultaneously from both pitchers into a coffee cup.

Mocha Coffee

4 squares bitter cooking chocolate

1 tsp ground cinnamon

4 cups strong hot coffee

Melt the chocolate and cinnamon in the top of a double boiler; gradually stir in the hot coffee, and distribute among four double-sized coffee cups. Serve with sugar and cream.

Cafe Royale

This is a do-it-yourself for guests: provide each with a large cup of strong hot black coffee - plus a bouillon spoon containing a lump of sugar, floated in brandy (as much as you can get in the spoon).

Light each spoonful of brandy; hold until the flames die, plunge into cup, then stir until the sugar dissolves.

Cafe Diable

An extension of Cafe Royale. This requires a chafing dish. In a heated chafing dish, mix.

5 whole cloves

2 thin slices of lemon peel and orange peel

1 stick of cinnamon

6 lumps of sugar

1 1/2 cup of brandy

Set this afire, and add four cups of strong hot coffee. Stir, and serve (with a ladle) in demitasse cups. As with eggs, every country in the world has its own method of serving coffee.

Austrian Coffee

Top each serving of coffee - either iced or hot - with plenty of sweetened whipped cream.

French Coffee

The slightly bitter, chicory-impregnated coffee used for a demitasse - brew it double strength - serve in the tiny demitasse cups, and provide a stick of cinnamon instead of a spoon. Sissies are allowed a lump of sugar - but cream does not go with this coffee.

Since all of these coffees involve similar ingredients, you can easily ask guests which coffee they prefer and make individual coffees for each.
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