Lavazza's New Coffee Museum Is Yet Another Reason to Visit Italy

Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images
Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

Italy may be famous for its food, but no good Italian meal is complete without an after-dinner espresso. So while you’re eating your way through Italy, make time to stop at the new Museo Lavazza. As Travel + Leisure reports, the famous coffee company just opened up a new museum at its headquarters in Turin, offering a caffeinated tour through all things coffee.

The museum is part of a new corporate campus called Nuvola Lavazza, or “Lavazza Cloud,” which includes the company’s offices, an open piazza, and two restaurants. Designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, a major museum design firm known for its work on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., the museum experience is an interactive tour through coffee’s past, present, and future.

Photographs and art on display at the Lavazza museum
© Andrea Guermani

The tour includes an interactive Lavazza coffee cup that visitors can use to save information they see in different exhibits. They can set it down at certain points throughout the museum to activate installations, save information about their visit, and share digital displays on social media. (You can see one of the cup-activated installations in this video.)

A man and a young woman examine a museum installation
Ralph Appelbaum uses the interactive coffee cup to activate an installation

The exhibits cover everything from Lavazza’s founding story to its advertising through the years to the history of espresso machines (like the one Lavazza developed for International Space Station astronauts) to the basic science of coffee. According to Travel + Leisure, the company has an archive of 8500 or so documents related to coffee history, so there’s plenty to draw upon for new exhibits in the future. Naturally, the tour ends with a drink. You get a free classic coffee and a taste of something that’s a more creative take on the coffee theme, like a coffee cocktail.

Visitors look down at an interactive museum table in a dark room

An exhibit in the 'factory' section of the museum
© Andrea Guermani

Italian coffee culture is notoriously full of rituals and rules that aren’t always apparent to foreigners—one never drinks a milky coffee after breakfast, for instance—so while you’re visiting Italy, put down your pasta fork for a moment and get yourself a quick coffee education.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

All images courtesy Lavazza unless otherwise noted

Canned Pumpkin Isn’t Actually Pumpkin

iStock
iStock

We hate to squash your autumnal dreams, but baking a pumpkin pie might not be as easy as you think. That’s because the canned pumpkin that normally makes pie prep such a breeze isn’t made of pumpkin at all. Food & Wine reports that cans of pumpkin puree—even those that advertise "100 percent pumpkin"—are actually made of a range of different squashes.

Most pumpkin purees are a mix of winter squashes, including butternut squash, Golden Delicious, and Hubbard. Meanwhile, Libby’s, the largest pumpkin puree brand, has developed its own unique brand of squash called the Dickinson, which is more closely related to a butternut squash than a pumpkin. The FDA is vague about what counts as "pumpkin," which allows companies to pack unspecified squashes into their purees and still list pumpkin as the sole ingredient.

While it’s a little unsettling to find out your favorite pie is not what it seems, pumpkin puree brands have a good reason for their deception. While pumpkins are a quintessential part of autumn, they don’t actually taste that great. Most pumpkins are watery and a little bit stringy, and turning them into a puree takes more work, and involves less reward, than other, sweeter winter squashes.

[h/t Food & Wine]

What's the Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing?

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iStock

For carbohydrate lovers, nothing completes a Thanksgiving meal quite like stuffing—shovelfuls of bread, celery, mushrooms, and other ingredients that complement all of that turkey protein.

Some people don’t say stuffing, though. They say dressing. In these calamitous times, knowing how to properly refer to the giant glob of insulin-spiking bread seems necessary. So what's the difference?

Let’s dismiss one theory off the bat: Dressing and stuffing do not correlate with how the side dish is prepared. A turkey can be stuffed with dressing, and stuffing can be served in a casserole dish. Whether it’s ever seen the inside of a bird is irrelevant, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong and should be met with suspicion, if not outright derision.

The terms are actually separated due to regional dialects. Dressing seems to be the favored descriptor for southern states like Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia, while stuffing is preferred by Maine, New York, and other northern areas. (Some parts of Pennsylvania call it filling, which is a bit too on the nose, but to each their own.)

If stuffing stemmed from the common practice of filling a turkey with carbs, why the division? According to The Huffington Post, it may have been because Southerners considered the word stuffing impolite, and therefore never embraced it.

While you should experience no material difference in asking for stuffing or dressing, when visiting relatives it might be helpful to keep to their regionally-preferred word to avoid confusion. Enjoy stuffing yourselves.

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