A drink with an intriguing, almost mysterious name, Barbajada is actually and quite simply named after its inventor, Neapolitan Domenico Barbaja.
The drink was invented in the Café Cambiasi that was located next to the La Scala Theatre (and was also called Caffè del Teatro, or Theatre Café) and was the meeting place for singers, musicians and theatre-goers. The inventor, Barbaja, was a waiter in the café and later managed singers and performances at La Scala.
In the mid-1800s, at a time when the city was colder and foggier than it is today, he came forward with this drink, claiming it would warm and pamper the palate of the Milanese.
Barbajada was made of cream, coffee and chocolate. It remained in vogue until the 1930s and survived for a few years after that before completely dying away. Today, however, if you ask the real Milanese what a Barbajada is, they will certainly know the answer.
Furthermore, Barbajada also owes its fame to the fact that it was famous composer Gioacchino Rossini’s favourite sweet treat.