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Sfogliatelle at Caffe Spaccanapoli

Coffee and Sfogliatella – Naples Breakfast of Champions

In Europe, Italy by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch22 Comments

We were in Naples Italy just long enough to discover the perfect Naples breakfast – coffee and sfogliatella. Read on to find out why this combination makes the best breakfast in Naples Italy if not the world.

Babba con Frutta

The proud people of Naples, Italy are never afraid to take advantage of a photo-op to show off their fine skills. Here’s our favorite Neapolitan baker with a Babba con Frutta.

Our time in Napoli was too short during our first visit.

After digging beyond the gritty chaos, we discovered a complex city filled with many charms. Though we enjoyed the many Naples attractions, our favorite things to do in Naples was to eat. The food in Naples is extraordinary and worthy of a visit, especially for tourists visiting other cities in Italy.

We ate as much as we could during our time in Naples. We ate the best pizza in the world. We ate a traditional trattoria meal. And we ate the best fried foods at a friggitoria. Our taste buds were happy, but they wanted more.

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Naples Breakfast

So, instead of eating a final breakfast at our charming B&B, we graciously excused ourselves and walked into the heart of Naples in search of a light bite to fuel us for the drive to Matera. As we traversed the city’s busy sidewalks, we soon stumbled upon Caffè Spaccanapoli, the cafe where we ate the perfect Naples breakfast.

Forget bacon and eggs! The perfect Napoli breakfast instead features authentic Italian coffee and flaky sfogliatella (also known as sfogliatelle).

Naples Street Scene

We walked these busy streets in our quest for the best breakfast in Naples.

Caffè Spaccanapoli

Caffè Spaccanapoli on Via Duomo is a typical Neapolitan morning spot – a combination bake shop and neighborhood cafe featuring a range of classic Southern Italian pastries and cakes, not to mention a full bar.

The house-made pastries include popular favorites like sfogliatelle (the ultimate Naples pastry), cornetto (similar to a croissant), cannoli and baba, plus there are refrigerators filled with beautiful fruit tarts and cakes.

Outside Caffe Spaccanapoli - Coffee and Sfogliatella - Naples Breakfast of Champions

Our First Glance of Caffe Spaccanapoli

At Caffè Spaccanapoli, locals stream through the doors, many ordering items to go and some staying to quickly sip their coffee at the bar or leisurely eat their Neapolitan pastry at a table.

Although we were in Naples as tourists, we felt very welcome at the cafe. Even though we don’t speak Italian, communication was not an issue since we all spoke a common language – the language of food.

Pastry Counter at Caffe Spaccanapoli

Pastry Counter at Caffe Spaccanapoli (Note the reasonable prices.)

Coffee

First things first, we ordered coffee after we secured a spot at the cafe’s long bar.

Coffee in Naples is traditionally served in a small cup and is quite strong. We had been drinking various versions of espresso since our arrival and were happily addicted to the potent potable. It’s no surprise that espresso rules the roost in Naples since it is the home city of espresso. Yes, espresso was invented in Naples Italy.

Coffee Naples Italy Style - Coffee and Sfogliatella - Naples Breakfast of Champions

Coffee, Naples Italy Style

Since the coffee is so strong in Naples, most people add sugar to their little cups of liquid gold. We don’t typically add sugar to our coffee, but we were tempted by the big bowl of red packets placed in front of us at the bar.

Sugar Bowl - Coffee and Sfogliatella - Naples Breakfast of Champions

Big Bowl of Sugar

Pro Tip:  In Italy, it’s not cool to order a cappuccino in the afternoon or evening. If you want a cappuccino, then order it with your breakfast. Otherwise, it’s more appropriate to order a coffee or other beverage in the afternoon. 

Sfogliatella

Pastries in Naples are dangerously good, especially the sfogliatella which was created in Campania hundreds of years ago. The layered pastry sports a flaky crust on the outside with a semi-sweet rich, slightly tangy ricotta filling.

We had eaten sfogliatella before. They’re ubiquitous items in many Italian-American bakeries, but this famous Napoli pastry is so much better at the source.

As a bonus, this perfectly constructed, golden brown sfogliatella was hot out of the oven and served on a pretty flowery plate. Seriously, folks, you can’t get a sfogliatella this good outside of Naples.

Sfogliatella at Caffe Spaccanapoli - Coffee and Sfogliatella - Naples Breakfast of Champions

Sfogliatella at Caffe Spaccanapoli – Perfection on a Plate

In Naples, there are several versions of sfogliatella, with the most popular being sfogliatella riccia and sfogliatella frolla.

The exterior of the riccia version is curly with layers of flaky dough, with an inside that is filled with a ricotta mixture that includes semolina, sugar, egg and citrus fruit. The second most popular Neapolitan sfogliatella is the sfogliatella frolla which is a smoother version of the riccia.

Of the two, we prefer the sfogliatella riccia, but that’s our personal taste. Both of these Naples pastries are delicious and worth every calorie.

As good as the Naples coffee and Naples sfogliatella are, they are even better together. Trust us.

We visited more cafes in Naples during our first visit to the southern Italian city, but there was something special about little, unassuming Caffè Spaccanapoli. Open since 1920, almost a century ago, it was a perfect spot for us to share our last bites and sips in Naples until our inevitable return.

Caffè Spaccanapoli is located at Via Duomo, 87, 80138, Napoli, Italy.

Sfogliatella Update

During our most second visit to Naples, we were in the city long enough to discover sfogliatella with added fruit, such as the Santa Rosa offered at Sfogliatella Mary, a tiny bakery located at the western entrance to Naples’ grandest shopping mall, Galleria Umberto.

Although Sfogliatella Mary offers a wide selection of Italian pastries like beautiful Rum Babas and Cannolis, we’re partial to the aforementioned Santa Rosa. In fact, this Santa Rosa sfogliatella very well may be the best sfogliatella in Naples.

We couldn’t resist the macerated cherry topped crunchy, flaky pastries lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar. A true Napoli classic!


Thirsty for more coffee? Check out our article about the art of drinking Italian coffee in Naples cafes. Then, watch our highly caffeinated video


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Comments

  1. Oh wow, I love having coffee at all times a day.. “/
    Those desserts look delish.. So jealous!

  2. I have a girlfriend who went on a taste of Europe tour. She said that Italy (as a whole) had the best food, with second place going to France. I’ve never to Europe but between her stories and your post, I need to get over there and get my hands on some food. I’m dying to try real Italian pizza as pizza is my jam. I could eat it every day if that was acceptable.

  3. Not sure if my comment went through, so please forgive me if this goes through twice. But your photos are amazing and I would love to visit there. What a great opportunity!

  4. Scrumptious! Surprisingly when we were in Italy for 2 weeks this past summer I very little pastry, but I made up for it in pasta!

  5. I’d get so fat if I lived in Italy! We’ve had sfogliatelle before, but never knew what they were before now, just that they tasted good! And I remember learning about the cappuccino rule in my Italian lessons, damn shame I don’t like coffee as I’m sure they’d go down a treat with one of those pastries!

  6. Oh Italy how I love you….unfortunately my travels will not take me there for 12 months or so, therefore a read of your post has been a wonderful, dreaming experience…Italian coffee to start the day…nothing like it! enjoy…ciao Mx

  7. I was in Naples this summer and the food was soooo good! The pizza was to die for. We only stayed two nights, I wish we had more time! Only thing I didn’t like about Naples was how dirty it was. Otherwise, I loved it!

  8. Loving the Sfogliatella! And 0,50 for pastries? In Lisbon you can’t find anything under 0,65! And not as big as those seemed! I may be living in the wrong country for pastries… lol

  9. I have been to Italy before but have never gotten around to spending anytime in Naples. I was always passing through. Now I want to go back just to try the food in this part of Italy.

  10. I once flew to Europe (Rome) for the weekend just so I could sit and watch people and sip on an espresso. It turned into an amazing trip.

  11. I LOVE Italian confections so much! I would love the opportunity to apprentice under an Italian pastry chef. I haven’t been to Italy yet, but there are amazing Italian bakeries near me in San Francisco!

  12. How I miss the European coffee shops and breakfast. They just know how to do it right. Living in Asia, I’ve come to love a lot of different food, but the Asians really don’t do breakfast. At least, not what I want. Here in Korea (where I’m based half of the year) they eat the same thing as they would for lunch or dinner (rice, soup, meat/fish). Although, the Koreans do seem to love western food, so “proper” breakfast is becoming more available.

    1. Author

      We once ate porridge for breakfast at the Seoul airport. It was tasty, though very different from a European breakfast. That’s our only breakfast in Korea so far.

  13. When we took my mom on her first trip to Italy a few years ago, her #1 objective was to have a real sfogliatelle in Napoli. I think she ate them all 😉

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