The Aosta Valley coffee, a sip of Val D’Aosta

Even nowadays, Italy is full of many regional recipes handed down from generations like the one for coffee in Aosta Valley, tipically known as “valdostano” coffee. This particular drink is composed of alcohol and coffee, to be shared among the diners, representing a traditional ritual. 

To drink the “valdostano” coffe you must use special containers: the cup of friendship and a grolla, carved into a piece of wood. You will discover below this particular drink, and its history. In the end, you will know how to prepare this particular regional recipe. 

Caffè alla valdostana con la ricetta originale da preparare nella grolla


The “valdostano” coffee is nothing more than a particular recipe for making this drink. One of the characteristics of the recipe is the sharing. This coffee, in fact, is served in special wooden containers: the grolla and the cup of friendship. The first is a typical product of the Aosta Valley handicraft. It is a round wooden container with six spouts on the edges and a hole in the centre. 

The “valdostano” coffee is usually drunk in turns: you take a sip of coffee from the grolla or the cup, and then you pass it over to the neighbour. This ritual creates an atmosphere of complicity among diners that is particularly suggestive. 

Grolla e Coppa dell'amicizia – Cervinia Icons


But that’s not all, you have to know that the “valdostano” coffee has ancient origins and has arrived unaltered until today. This tradition was born between the sixteeth and the eighteenth centuries. Surely one of the main peculiarities of this tradition is the way you serve and drink this coffee. This hot drink is served in special, handmade, containers. It is also important how you drink it. 

The coffee is tasted by diners one at a time, moving clockwise. The tour continuer on and on until the coffee is finished. One important thing is once you raise the container you cannot place it again on the table until the end. According to the tradition, this would be bad luck


Preparing the “Valdostano“coffee involves different flavours and special ingredients. The coffee must be very long and particularly hot. A key ingredient is Genepì, a liqueur typical of the Aosta Valley with artemisia. You can also add sugar, grappa, cloves, orange and lemon peel, cinnamon and juniper. The secret for a good “valdostano” coffee lies in its preparation. An important thing is to use the coffee made with the moka. It is generally used for preparing the coffee for four people. 

Once the coffee is ready, it is poured into the grolla or the cup of friendship and the grappa and Genepì are added. At this point the peel and cloves are added together with the sugar. It is also important to sprinkle the spouts with grappa and sugar. Before serving the coffee, you have to set it on fire and then turn it off after few minutes. A very important aspect to pay attention to is that you never have to wash the container with water: you must use a damp cloth. In this way it will not spoil the container and you can prepare another excellent “valdostano” coffee. 

La Grolla dell'amicizia | Palati a Spasso

Cover Image : cerviniaicons

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