There is an amazing Italian dessert called an ‘affogato’. The word means ‘drowned’, literally. It consists of two things only: vanilla gelato and espresso. I’ve seen it in few restaurants here in the states — and when I do see it, they’re usually doing some ‘cute’ take on it where they replace the simple and perfect scoop of vanilla gelato with some trendy flavor of ice cream. I’ve also been aware that the espresso topping is in fact, often, coffee. But coffee doesn’t cut it. The dairy needs the intensity of espresso to counterbalance it. America needn’t meddle with this; it’s perfect as it is. A tiny scoop of vanilla gelato, with a tiny shot of espresso poured on top. The colors begin to mingle. The espresso like tar spilled onto a white dress. It’s beautiful. Delicious. Perfecto.
My blog addiction, Smitten Kitchen, recently turned the affogato on its head. She froze the espresso and took the sweetness out of the cream. I disapproved for a moment only, then I recognized that she must know what she’s doing. So I followed in her footsteps. I brewed espresso in dueling Mokas on the stovetop. The place smelled so good afterwards I didn’t think I’d sleep that night, the scent stuck to the walls, making me feel like I was leaning over a perpetual cup of caffe.
I took the frozen treat to a party. (A fish fry, if you must know. I’m in Kentucky.) Brought it out and asked who in the room ‘liked coffee’. The man of the home said he did, so I laid his dessert dish next to his catfish and turnip greens. He decided to try it mid-meal; he leaned over and dug in. One spoonful – then he looked up, with a slight grimace, and said, “Well….I don’t like coffee that much.” !