Until just a few decades ago, coffee was one of the most desirable Christmas gifts. The ritual of serving it beside the Christmas tree is a memory of the past that deserves to be rediscovered, both by us and by our children.
“The coffee ritual, in some ways, has various similarities with the Christmas ritual, if we interpret is as a moment of reflection and focus on ourselves and others,” comments Federica Buglioni, an author and founder of the Associazione Bambini in Cucina (Children in the Kitchen Association), which promotes the emotional and edicational value and fun of cooking together, eating well and sharing peaceful moments and emotions. “Because we are made of emotions,” she explains, “and when we approach food not out of duty, but rather out pleasure, children feel involved and respond in an unexpected way by playing, experimenting and acquiring an awareness of tastes and flavours.”
A magical journey through the scents of Christmas
This Sunday, Bambini in Cucina is organising a new workshop at MUMAC entitled A magical journey through the scents of Christmas. Coffee and children? And why at MUMAC? “Because MUMAC’s hall is a perfect location,” answers Federica Buglioni. “It is warm, welcoming, spacious and flooded with natural light, making it the perfect place for experimenting, discovering and playing with the lights, shapes and scents of Christmas. Together we will create a trail of emotions and sensations at MUMAC to prepare a Christmas thought in its purest form: waiting and absence. When you think about it, the greatest joy is the desire for Christmas and its preparation and it is wonderful to educate our children to grow up in this way.” Paying attention to the different senses involved, from the shape of star anise and cinnamon sticks to the cradle shape of a coffee bean, is as important for children as it is for us because it is something to discover and listen to, it is fuel for the imagination.
Christmas images are everywhere but we, to enter the magic of these days, will close our eyes and let ourselves by guided by the scents that have always made us say: It’s Christmas! “In this sense, I see similarities with coffee,” remarks the author of, among others, the charming book Storie in frigorifero (Fridge Stories), “because visual appearance is less important in this drink than for other foods: with coffee, we quickly forget visual appearance by focusing on other sensory impressions, including tactile sensations such as the density, length and granularity of the sugar and the thickness of the cup.” In short, enjoying a good espresso satisfies all the senses, but it does not end here because coffee is a ritual and although when people develop their palate, bitterness is only appreciated by adults, while children accept spiciness first, it is important to emphasise the magic of rituals from from the youngest age. “Sitting down to drink coffee,” concludes Federica Bugnoli, “even just with water in the cup is one of the most engaging games for children, so my suggestion is to include a little old moka among their Christmas gifts, which they can asssemble and disassemble, because its scent alone is a sensory gift.”