Just say it with me “Af-fo-ga-toe” …this is the word you want to see on every coffee menu and it is so easy to make at home. During these dog days of summer if you are getting sick and tired of the same old iced coffee drinks, affogato is the cure you are looking for!
Affogato means “drowned” in Italian and I can think of nothing better on a hot and humid day like today than drowning cool, creamy ice cream (or traditionally, gelato) in dark, rich espresso. Pouring hot, robust espresso over cold and sweet ice cream transforms both into something more seductive to your taste buds than either can do alone.
If you need a pick me up and can’t decide whether you want coffee or ice cream, or whether you want something hot or cold, affogato is your answer! This is a treat that can be adapted for and enjoyed in all seasons! Change up ice cream flavors, or toppings or add a shot of booze or a sprinkle of cinnamon to spice things up. Affogato teaches us that ice cream need not only be enjoyed in summer!
The first affogato I ever had was in Saint Augustine at Café del Hidalgo where they have some of the best gelato I have ever eaten in the states and make coffee the Italian way. My favorite combination there is nocciola (hazelnut) gelato drowned in espresso.
My new favorite place to get affogato in the states is in Burlington, Vermont, right on Church Street. At the Blue Bird Coffee Stop, a walk-up café that serves all kinds of delicious coffee and tea drinks they also combine a favorite summer treat of all Vermonters, the creamee with their espresso. A creamee is what other people from other states call soft serve, but in Vermont, we are famous for our maple-flavored creamees. At Blue Bird, you can get maple or mocha, or opt for a twist of both flavors, which is drowned with silky and robust espresso. Then they top the affogato with dark chocolate covered espresso beans! HELLO!
I adore this summer indulgence and I recently introduced it to two other people, my friend Beth who was visiting from Chicago and my stepdaughter Gwen. Both quickly came under the spell of the affogato, enjoying the juxtaposition of the cold, luscious ice cream and the dark hot espresso.
How To Make The Perfect Pairing for Affogato:
1) The espresso needs to be dark and rich. The bolder the espresso, the more you appreciate the contrast between the sweet ice cream and the full-bodied espresso. By the second or third bite this contrast becomes craved by the taster, the acidity from the coffee, cutting the sweetness of the ice cream. Pure bliss!
2) The ice cream, or gelato should compliment the flavor of the espresso and should be the best quality you can find. You want it to be intense so the flavor is not completely lost in the espresso. Flavors like vanilla and chocolate are classic, but I also love hazelnut and mint chip would be good too. Just think about your favorite coffee drink flavors and you are on the right track!
3) Make sure your ice cream is very cold – you don’t want it to all melt right away when you add the espresso. Eating affogato is a process and you want to enjoy the progression of the mixing of flavors. The first bite is always eaten, the last bits are often drunk.
4) Make the espresso right before serving – you don’t want that robust espresso flavor to become old and you want some of its melting power, most of which is delayed by the frozen ice cream.
5) Top it with something crunchy or toothsome – chocolate covered espresso beans, biscotti, cookies, nuts or even chocolate shavings. I topped mine with crispy brownie edges.
How to Make an Affogato:
1) The general rule of thumb is one scoop of ice cream to a shot or double shot of espresso. These aren’t meant to be jumbo treats!
2) Place your ice cream in a cold bowl and then pour the espresso right over top.
3) If you are mixing in booze, mix the booze and espresso together first and then pour over the ice cream.
4) Top with your choice of crumbly treat, or eat it unadorned (my favorite way!)
5) Eat, sip and slurp until there is no more…
6) Try not to cry!
- 1 scoop of ice cream
- 2 shots espresso
- shot of frangelico (optional)
- crumble of brownies (optional)
- Place your ice cream in a cold bowl and then pour the espresso right over top.
- If you are mixing in booze, mix the booze and espresso together first and then pour over the ice cream.
- Top with your choice of crumbly treat, or eat it unadorned (my favorite way!)
- Eat, sip and slurp until there is no more…
UP THE YUM: Add a shot of Frangelico, amaretto or whisky to add a little more umph to your affogato!