Affogato al Cafe


What is it about Italian desserts and Italian accents that make the world swoon? I don’t have the answers to such mystical secrets. Yet I can tell you, once you taste Affogato al Cafe, you will most certainly feel a buckle in your knees, and pull out your best faux Italian “Nonna” accent while muttering aff-o-gaaaato, gel-aaaa-to, es-preeeeess-o… Merda Santa! (Holy Crud!)

Such a simple treat to cause a dramatic response; that is the Italian way.

You may have heard the old story about Julia Child snubbing Italian food because she didn’t believe it was real cooking. Well, no disrespect to Julia but, the simplicity of most Italian dishes is what draws me to them. Italian food, as a whole, is about celebrating the ingredients, not the chef. In theory, a tomato-based dish should uphold the integrity of the tomato, straight off the vine. Not muck it up with dozens of other flavors. Italians honor their food by preparing simple meals.

Affogato Al Cafe

Affogato al Cafe,  meaning “drowned in coffee”, is a sweet little treat that packs a punch! It’s an “adult” ice cream float, of sorts. The two crucial ingredient are vanilla gelato and espresso. All other variations with espresso beans, chocolate, or amaretto are considered Strav-a-gan-te! (extravagant!)

Here I did get a tad “stravagante” with the Affogato–couldn’t help myself. I combined the gelato and espresso with a nip of Kahlua (mocha liquor) and dark chocolate shavings. Shameful. *wink*

Such a simple yet “stravagante” treat can:  save a dinner party, spur on a love connection, mend a broken heart, keep you up at night to finish a project… get you in trouble. Be careful with this one. Affogato al Cafe is POWERFUL.

Affogato Italian


Yield: 1

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Affogato Al Cafe


2 scoops vanilla gelato (or GOOD ice cream)
1 oz. Espresso
1/2 oz. Kahlua
1 tsp. Dark Chocolate Shavings


Place two large scoops of vanilla gelato in a glass.

Pour one shot of espresso and half a shot of Kahlua over the gelato.

Use a veggie peeler to shave chocolate curls over the top. Perfectto!

How To Make Affogato

Other Favorite Italian Treats:

Tiramisu ~ David Lebovitz

Panforte ~ Joy of Baking

La Tavola Della Mia Famiglia ~ Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy

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70 Responses to “Affogato al Cafe”

  1. #
    Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet — July 27, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

    You had me at Mocha. :) Affogato…..oh yes please. Love this post and will be making pronto! Well not tonight, but for sure manana.

    Great post!
    Heather :)


    • Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet — July 27th, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

      ok, I obviously didn’t read this all the way and fabricated the “mocha” word based on the pictures. lol. No matter what, it looks fab and I’m makin it!


  2. #
    Sanjeeta kk — July 27, 2011 @ 10:55 pm

    Gelato..espresso..chocolate…Mmmm..what more could I ask for in a heavenly indulgence! Lovely clicks, Sommer.


  3. #
    Susie — July 27, 2011 @ 10:57 pm

    Sounds wonderful…. gelato with espresso all over it and chocolate and liquor. What else does one need for dessert.


  4. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — July 28, 2011 @ 12:14 am

    That’s why I love Italian cooking as well, it’s unfussy but so full of flavor. I used to be obsessed with affogato’s when I was younger, my friend worked at a cafe where they had the best ones. I haven’t had one in such a long time but you’ve brought back the craving. :-)


  5. #
    The Cilantropist — July 28, 2011 @ 1:18 am

    Genius idea to add kahula! ;) You reminded me how much I adore affogato… And just loving your photos – especially the second one!


  6. #
    Maris (In Good Taste) — July 28, 2011 @ 2:51 am

    Goodness but that looks incredible! Pictures are terrific!


  7. #
    Katarina — July 28, 2011 @ 3:58 am

    Delicious :)


  8. #
    Annie Oakley's Kitchen — July 28, 2011 @ 5:35 am

    So simple and delicious! Your pictures are so enticing!


  9. #
    Juanita — July 28, 2011 @ 5:40 am

    Nice use of Kahlua. It was Nigella Lawson that first got me hooked on this double whammy uber treat (caffeine AND sugar…zing). Your photos look magnificent!


  10. #
    priya mahadevan — July 28, 2011 @ 5:54 am

    you got me at Kahlua!! always feel it lends a beautiful flavor to many recipes I’ve added it to – Coffe looks like a decadent desert :))


  11. #
    Jennifer Eloff — July 28, 2011 @ 6:03 am

    Yum – beautiful photos!!


  12. # — July 28, 2011 @ 6:53 am

    Wish I could slurp up those photos…I love that stuff! I drown myself in it!


  13. #
    Steve @ HPD — July 28, 2011 @ 6:55 am

    “Drowned in coffee.” What a perfect name.

    That’s the one thing missing from the American foodie movement: visually descriptive names. We need something like, well, off the top of my head, Summer Sidewalk Sizzling Fajitas. Or Baby’s Bottom Banana Bread. Okay, I’ll work on those, but you get the idea.

    Hawaiians come close. I love the expression “broke da mouth.” Or huli huli chicken — “huli” meaning flipped, so chicken that’s flipped twice.


  14. #
    Emily Malloy @Cleanliness — July 28, 2011 @ 7:13 am



  15. #
    Parsley Sage — July 28, 2011 @ 7:26 am

    Swoon is right! That sounds amazing! We’re both slightly addicted to coffee…so anything that’s ‘drowned in it’ is fully supported by us :)


  16. #
    kitchenarian — July 28, 2011 @ 7:28 am

    It’s all my favorite things – ice cream, espresso and kahlua! Yum!


  17. #
    Amy | She Wears Many Hats — July 28, 2011 @ 7:33 am

    If I order one now will it be ready by the time I get there? YUM!


  18. #
    Cookin' Canuck — July 28, 2011 @ 7:44 am

    Oh my! This sounds so decadent and like a dessert-dream-come-true. Julia Child was missing out!


  19. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — July 28, 2011 @ 8:46 am

    What a pretty and delicious dessert!


  20. #
    Bella @WineandGoodFood — July 28, 2011 @ 7:52 am

    I love Affogota but I have never added the Kahlua…looks amazing I can’t wait to try it! Cheers!


  21. #
    Tricia B — July 28, 2011 @ 8:07 am

    That sounds way too easy! Looks like I’ll invite people over just so I can make this! Thanks – it is beautiful.


  22. #
    pachecopatty — July 28, 2011 @ 8:20 am

    Hi Sommer, my 6 year old grandson just looked at the last photo and said, that looks delicious and I think that says it all;-)


  23. #
    Tiff @ Babes and Kids — July 28, 2011 @ 8:21 am

    That looks so so yummy!


  24. #
    Lana @ Never enough Thyme — July 28, 2011 @ 8:23 am

    It has been a long, long time since I enjoyed a good affogato! I think I need to correct that asap.


  25. #
    Tina@flourtrader — July 28, 2011 @ 8:33 am

    What a delicious dessert- I love each and every ingredient. That tells me that it is totally a winner. Yum-buzz


  26. #
    Brooke — July 28, 2011 @ 8:39 am

    I don’t even know what to say! That looks wonderful!


  27. #
    Chef Dennis — July 28, 2011 @ 9:30 am

    hi Sommer
    what an outstanding dessert! I love Julia, but you can make me anything Italian any day of the week, that is my food of choice, and your delicious dessert is no exception! Those glasses are magnificent and in this world where most of the dinnerware is made in third world countries its nice to see quality is still available to put on the table. I need a new set of china, I’m going to have to look into Villeroy and Boch!

    See you soon!


  28. #
    Amy @ Gastronome Tart — July 28, 2011 @ 9:51 am

    I love affogato! The first time I had it was surprisingly in Sydney, Australia. I had no idea it existed, but I was happy I found it. Thanks for the post and recipe! Is perfect way to get my espresso kick in the summer!


  29. #
    carolinaheartstrings — July 28, 2011 @ 10:36 am

    That looks so delicious. I cannot wait to make it. All the ingredients are at home right now just waiting for me. Come over and visit us today. We have a really wonderful sorbet recipe.


  30. #
    Stevie — July 28, 2011 @ 11:22 am

    I had a wonderful affogato al cafe at the Museum of Modern Art in New York recently. No kaluha, unfortunately, though otherwise quite similar to this one. I totally agree with you about Italian food: it’s simplicity, refined. Julia Child is great and her recipes can be a lot of fun to make and eat, but she was no friend of time-saving measures, at least in her first book.


  31. #
    torviewtoronto — July 28, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

    beautiful treat looks wonderful


  32. #
    Georgia Pellegrini — July 28, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

    What a perfect summer treat!


  33. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — July 28, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

    Pictures are amazing! Simple, delicious and Italian….what else is there?


  34. #
    Kelly — July 28, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

    This is so pretty and looks delicious!! :)


  35. #
    Anne@frommysweetheart — July 28, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

    What a simple and delicious ‘adult ice cream soda’! Your photography is stunning! : )


  36. #
    Priya Sreeram — July 28, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

    wowee- nice pics


  37. #
    elle marie — July 29, 2011 @ 3:52 am

    For me, Italian and French desserts are simply the best, give me a Canoli or a Macaron and I’m totally salivating… pignoli (sp) cookies.. a plus.


  38. #
    Valerie — July 29, 2011 @ 4:50 am

    I love italian food, they have sooo many diferent pasta recipes and risottos and their desserts made with coffee just make me crazy!! I made a tiramisu lately, i just looooved it! Can’t wait to make that Affogato al cafe!


  39. #
    Linda — July 29, 2011 @ 7:42 am

    Bravo Sommer!! Yes, Italian food is really simple food based on fresh, quality ingredients…and not alot of them! Your Affogato looks delicious and is delicious…as I have one about 2x a week during the summer months (ok, if not more)! I’m always “correcting” my espresso with some type of liquor too. Gorgeous photos as always!! Have a wonderful weekend!


  40. #
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — July 29, 2011 @ 8:43 am

    Oh YUM! Love the addition of Kahlua!


  41. #
    Denise @ Creative Kitchen — July 29, 2011 @ 9:23 am

    Wish I could join you for one of these!! :) I’m not a big coffee fan, but found out that I LOVED tiramisu when I worked at that Italian restaurant last year. Hubby and wife were both Italian and from NY, and as a trained pastry chef her tiramisu was out of this world!!!


  42. #
    marla — July 29, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

    “Drowned in coffee” really? A coffee addict and I have never had one of these. Must. Have. One. Now. LOVE :)


  43. #
    5 Star Foodie — July 29, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

    Wow, that is one decadent treat for sure!


  44. #
    wizzythestick — July 29, 2011 @ 8:23 pm

    Not sure I can properly pronounce it but pretty damn sure I can properly devour it!


  45. #
    Cristina — July 29, 2011 @ 11:01 pm

    I just heard that quote about Italian Cooking by Julia Child from Ina Garten. Although I adore Julia, I too have to disagree.

    This is a real picker-upper, cool dessert. You’ve presented it so beautifully in those glass dishes. I’m definitely giving these a try…so grown up and elegant! ;)


  46. #
    Angie's Recipes — July 30, 2011 @ 6:52 am

    What a fabulous Italian dessert! mmm…kahula..I love it.


  47. #
    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence — July 30, 2011 @ 8:25 am

    Simply delicious :) I recently made some vanilla ice cream spiced with green and black cardamom, clove, cinnamon, black pepper corns, star anise and nutmeg. I think it would pair nicely with the kahlua and espresso!

    Thanks for sharing.


  48. #
    Kim - Liv Life — July 30, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

    Oh MY!! Love this! Actually, I didn’t know there was an actual name to it. I don’t eat ice cream very often, and I haven’t used Gelato, but when I do have ice cream it is just like this! Not always with the kahalua, but always with the espresso and chocolate. LOVE it! Anything “drowned in coffee” is ok by me!


  49. #
    Ann — July 30, 2011 @ 9:53 pm

    Congratulations on making Food Buzz’s Top 9 – this is amazing! Simple and delicious – my favorite kind of recipe!


  50. #
    Monet — July 30, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

    Coffee, chocolate and gelato…how can you go wrong? This looks just heavenly! Thank you for sharing with me tonight. I hope you have a beautiful Sunday full of laughter, love and more good food!


  51. #
    Rosa — July 31, 2011 @ 8:59 am

    Those dreamlike affogato look so tempting and refreshing. What a divine treat!

    Congrats on making Foodbuzz’s Top 9!




  52. #
    Pudding Pie Lane — July 31, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

    Yum this ice cream looks delicious and truly grown up! :)


  53. #
    Shirley — July 31, 2011 @ 9:27 pm

    I’m not a coffee person, but this is just beautiful. I’d try some. :)


  54. #
    Dmarie — August 1, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

    ooh, all your posts make me swoon–always an eye-full here!


  55. #
    Kita — August 1, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

    Im not a huge fan of coffee like flavors, but with pictures like these, I know I wouldn’t be able to resist a bite either! These look wonderful :D


  56. #
    Chris and Amy — August 2, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    Heavenly, indeed. Those Italians know what they’re doing.


  57. #
    Eileen — August 3, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

    I love your Italian treat. Definitely a must make one of these hot days. Beautiful pics as usual Sommer.


  58. #
    Marisa — August 3, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

    This is just dreamy. This post has me swooning over affogato, for sure.


  59. #
    Tiffany — August 4, 2011 @ 7:40 am

    I’m swooning Sommer, SWOONING :D


  60. #
    a spoonful of yumm — August 4, 2011 @ 8:38 am

    i love the ingredients ….sinful dessert :D


  61. #
    Marie — August 5, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

    I think it would pair nicely with the Kahlua and espresso..?


  62. #
    Jess@BringYour Appetite — August 10, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

    My husband and I discovered Affogato al Café when it was described in a recent issue of Bon Appétit magazine, and ever since, we have been OBSESSED! We are not big sweets people, and we rarely eat dessert, but ever since we discovered this little piece of heaven, we gleefully fire up the espresso machine and pull the ice cream out of the freezer after dinner several nights a week so that we can indulge.

    Kudos to you for introducing more souls to this delicious Italian dessert!


  63. #
    Kadhyaa — August 11, 2011 @ 6:03 am

    First time here and nice place with yummy recipes. This post looks so awesome..


  64. #
    sarainitaly — August 26, 2011 @ 6:02 am

    Nice site, and your cafe affogato looks delicious! I’ve never had one with Kahlua. Will have to try that.

    One little note – Merda Santa! (Holy Crud!) isn’t quite correct. The saying is santa merda, and it means “holy sh*t”. Merda is not a very pleasant word, just like sh*t….


  65. #
    bhavani@ameanderingmango — August 31, 2011 @ 1:59 am

    Wow – what a dessert. Espresso and gelato together sounds like a perfect combination. Great photos too!


  66. #
    Nancy Long — May 18, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

    hubby doesn’t like coffee, but loves Kahlua (go figure), so will make this w/just the Kahlua. think he will love it!


  67. #
    Nancy Long — May 18, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

    hubby doesn’t like coffee, but loves Kahlua (go figure). will make this w/just the Kahlua and know he will love it!



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