I had dessert for breakfast. Yep, sure did, and I’d be lying if I said I’ll never do it again. I might even serve it to my kids.
Before rushing to judgment, let me explain.
I made what is called Colva, a dish from Puglia, located in the “boot's heel” of southern Italy. Colva is a traditional sweet often served around this time of year. Comprised of wheat berries, nuts and fruit with a hint of dark chocolate, it would hardly pass for dessert (or breakfast) by most American standards.
Which got me thinking...maybe I'm not alone in my eating-dessert-for-breakfast. So many of the foods we call “breakfast foods” really should be reserved for dessert. Without giving it much thought, we start our day downing a donut or Danish, piling in the pancakes or waffles with syrup, or munching a muffin or sugary cereal. All of these foods are laden with sugar, are mostly made from refined flour and do not contain much else- not really a great way to start the day.
So although Colva is traditionally served as dessert, I think it also makes a fabulous first meal. The hearty whole wheat berries are high in fiber and nutrients. The red grapes, pomegranate arils, orange peel, walnuts and hazelnuts are all nutritious powerhouse foods that will rev up our metabolism after a night’s rest. Now that's a great way to start the day!
Colva ~ Wheat Berries with Fruit and Nuts (adapted from LaCucina Italiana, Jan/Feb 2013)
- 1 cup wheat berries (ours from Missouri Grain Project)
- 2 Tbsp. vincotto *see note below
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1 cup red grapes, halved
- 2/3 cup fresh pomegranate arils
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (we used Hammon's black walnuts, Stockton, MO)
- 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (AKA filberts)
- 1/2 cup candied orange peel
- 3 ounces shaved dark chocolate (we used Patric Chocolate, Columbia, MO)
- In a medium saucepan, combine wheat berries and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer; cook until tender about 1 hour; drain. (this can be done in advance and kept in refrigerator until ready)
- Add vincotto (or balsamic), honey, cinnamon, salt; stir and let cool to room temperature.
- Add in grapes, pomegranate, orange peel, and nuts.
- Garnish with candied orange peel and dark chocolate shavings.
*Vincotto is an Italian condiment produced from reducing down grapes to a sweet, rich, complex syrup. If unable to find, 2 Tbsp. of a good balsamic and 1 tsp. honey would work equally well.