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Now, there’s nothing wrong with a greasy parcel of battered cod and chips. Far from it. And you couldn’t pair it with anything other than a builder’s tea with two heaped sugars. But it has to be said - some nations have the UK beat when it comes to cuisine.

If there’s one thing we love almost as much as coffee, it’s carbs. Delicious, pasta-shaped carbs, that is. And there’s one country with a solid tradition in nailing both.

Italy and the after-dinner espresso

Let me set a (possibly familiar) scene: you’re on holiday in Italy, dining out for the first time, and astounded by the sheer quantity of courses - starters, pasta, and a meat main?! And then you notice everyone around you is topping it all off with a shot of espresso. Don’t they know it’s 10pm? How do they expect to sleep?

Listen. Espresso after dinner is an Italian tradition we’re a big fan of. And there’s a few things we think it’ll be helpful to clear up:

- It won’t necessarily keep you up all night

What a lot of people don’t realise, is that espresso has less caffeine than filter coffee - despite it tasting like it packs more of a punch! Mostly that’s because you have less of it but it still means it might be worth the risk of a late night, given it’s other benefit…

- It could help with digestion

After a heavy meal, an espresso might be just the thing you need. Drinking coffee has been found to ‘get things moving’, while caffeine encourages the release of acids needed to break food down. It also can cause contractions in your gut, so you won’t feel weighed down for long!

- Avoid embarrassment & hold the milk!

Go for a post-pasta coffee, sure - but don’t ask for a cappuccino! In Italy, milky coffees are very much a morning thing. We’re all for ‘you being you’, but everyone likes to save face. Besides, the last thing you want is a belly full of foam on top of everything else.

- Just there for the coffee? No need for a table

If you’re skipping the meal and just popping in for a brew, don’t grab a seat. The Italian way is to put the express into espresso, and grab one at the bar instead. They call it ‘al banco’ and it’s a great way to squeeze a chat and a coffee into the space of ten minutes.

The long, tangled history of pasta

Pasta and Italy are almost synonymous. After all, it’s been around for a very long time. The (false) myth is that Marco Polo introduced pasta to the country after discovering it in China - but it had been around long before that.

We know pasta was a big thing in the 1300s from lots of references to it in contemporaneous writings. And though it spent time as a dish for the upper classes, by the 1700s it was an everyday staple. People from Naples even began being known as “macaroni-eaters (mangiamaccheroni)”!

Flavour-wise, accompanying sauces have also changed a lot through the years. It wasn’t until 1844 that we see a recipe for pasta with tomato sauce emerge! Before that, evidence suggests that sweet ingredients like cinnamon and raisins featured heavily. We’re intrigued…

Our new partner: Pasta Evangelists

Back in the 21st Century, there’s one place we’re going for truly quality pasta dishes - Pasta Evangelists. Like us, they deliver direct to your door. And also like us, they only send packages packed full of deliciousness!

They specialise in fresh, artisan pasta and beautifully crafted sauces - lobster and crab tortelloni with lemon pangrattato, samphire and sage butter anyone?! And it’s all shipped in chilled, insulated boxes for free with next day delivery.

After you receive your delivery, you could be chowing down on a gourmet pasta dish in just five minutes. Sounds like a dream. And to help you step it up and really dine like Italians do, here’s our pasta-and-espresso pairings.

Pasta Evangelists & Pact Coffee pairings

- Summer Pea & Shallot Tortelloni with Garlic Oil & Lemon Pangrattato with Manantial Espresso

The mellow sweetness of summer peas and shallots would be complemented by a post-dinner shot of Manantial Espresso - with its peach sherbet taste notes, a bright apple acidity, and silky mouthfeel.

- Tagliatelle with Beef & Barolo Wine Ragù with Parmigiano Reggiano with Fruit & Nut Espresso

The rich, aromatic Baraolo wine merges beautifully with browned beef shin - its intensely meaty and indulgent! So why not carry on that indulgence, with an espresso with chocolatey, nutty flavour notes and creamy mouthfeel?

- Beef and Black Truffle Ravioli with Sage Butter, Parmigiano Reggiano & Hazelnut Crumb with Santa Rosa Espresso

The deliciously complex flavour of black truffles is lightened with a light hazelnut crumb. And the Santa Rosa Espresso, with its dark chocolate and Brazil nut hints, will be the perfect accompaniment.