The Italian Classic - Espresso Affogato
Espresso Affogato – sounds familiar or unheard? Are you using every opportunity in the summer to indulge in it? Or you’ve been savoring affogato while in Italy? If there’s any fact that you don’t know about it – it will be revealed right now.
Affogato by no surprise comes from Italy. It sounds Italian, right? What does it mean one may wonder. Drumroll please…. It means drowned or poached, just like your brunch favorite poached eggs in Italian is ‘”le uova affogate” so the famous espresso affogato is simply like ice cream poached/drowned in warm coffee. Or warm coffee with nutty liqueur!
History and what it is?
So a bit about the origins of affogato… Oh Italy, the mother of so many tasty things and foods that we consume daily. Renaissance and Florence, the birthplace of gelato or ice cream and Turin – the cradle of espresso around 1884. Those facts we know, but what we don’t know is how affogato came to be and when. A bit sad, but not too discouraging as it can be seen on many specialty menu’s around the world and one can easily make it at home. Trying affogato in each and every coffee shop wouldn’t be a terrible idea, don’t you think?
The original recipes calls for two Italian classics: a shot of freshly brewed espresso and a scoop of vanilla or fior di latte gelato. Due to its popularity, there’s now lots of variations that diverge from the original recipe. Think of different gelato flavors, homemade ice cream infused with spices, fortified wines, or the addition of nuts, chocolate, cocoa nibs and crumbled cookies or biscotti.
First – freeze the gelato/ice cream scoops beforehand, in order to slow down the melting of the ice cream. Also – chill the serving glass/cup.
If you're making several portions at once, it is best to serve the gelato and the espresso separate and leave the "drowning" to the guests.
How to eat it?
With a spoon! Ice cream first, then coffee or coffee along with melted ice cream – it’s divine! I know some people who sip affogato rather than eat with a spoon, but its personal preference. I really believe it can be drinkable perfection.
Best enjoyed after a big hearty meal or pick-me-up in the afternoon.
Affogato at home? Really?
Yes, use Moka pot, Aeropress or French press to brew strong coffee.
See also Karkk's blog about how to make coffee ice cream.
What flavor of the ice cream to choose?
A high quality fior di latte, vanilla ice cream is a pure tradition and can reveal the best duo of espresso and the ice cream. But other flavors that one likes is great: chocolate, gianduia, hazelnut, pistachio and so on…
Where to try out Espesso Affogatto?
If you happen to be in Rome, please please visit Fiocco di Neve for their heavenly affogato with zabaione gelato (or you can choose any gelato flavor you feel like).
Address: Via del Pantheon, 51, 00186 Rome RM, Italy
Visiting Florence? Stop by Gelateria Vivoli for your unique affogato experience.
Address: Via Dell'Isola delle Stinche 7r, 50122 Florence, Italy
To conclude – simply get off your chair, run to your kitchen or shop for good ice cream and make affogato as soon as possible. There will be no regrets, I promise.
I’ll leave you with a classic recipe:
Original Espresso Affogato
1 scoop of gelato (vanilla, fior di latte or hazelnut)
1 shot of espresso
Add-on's: liquor, cacao nibs, roasted nuts, waffles, chocolate….
Place a scoop of ice cream in a cup/glass or latte glass. If you are making more, it would be great to put the cups or glasses with scooped ice cream in the freezer (this will allow the ice cream to harden a bit). Make a strong coffee/espresso and pour over the gelato. Serve and enjoy immediately.
You can also use cold brew coffee to make an affogato. :)