Affogato al Cafe

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

Other Favorite Italian Treats:

Tiramisu ~ David Lebovitz

Panforte ~ Joy of Baking

La Tavola Della Mia Famiglia ~ Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy

Affogato Al Cafe

Yield: 1

Prep Time:5 minutes

Did you make this recipe?   Leave a review »


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!

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71 comments on “Affogato al Cafe

  1. Pingback: Lemon Blueberry Icebox Cake - A Spicy Perspective

  2. Nancy Longposted May 18, 2012 at 6:33 pm Reply

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

  3. Nancy Longposted May 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm Reply

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

  4. Pingback: Spiked Coffees to Cure Your Hangover | Yummly

  5. [email protected]posted August 31, 2011 at 1:59 am Reply

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

  6. sarainitalyposted August 26, 2011 at 6:02 am Reply

    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….

  7. Kadhyaaposted August 11, 2011 at 6:03 am Reply

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

  8. [email protected] Appetiteposted August 10, 2011 at 12:48 pm Reply

    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!

  9. Marieposted August 5, 2011 at 3:23 pm Reply

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

  10. a spoonful of yummposted August 4, 2011 at 8:38 am Reply

    i love the ingredients ….sinful dessert :D

  11. Tiffanyposted August 4, 2011 at 7:40 am Reply

    I’m swooning Sommer, SWOONING :D

  12. Marisaposted August 3, 2011 at 10:26 pm Reply

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

  13. Eileenposted August 3, 2011 at 3:14 pm Reply

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

  14. Chris and Amyposted August 2, 2011 at 9:32 am Reply

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

  15. Kitaposted August 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm Reply

    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

  16. Dmarieposted August 1, 2011 at 3:04 pm Reply

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

  17. Shirleyposted July 31, 2011 at 9:27 pm Reply

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

  18. Pudding Pie Laneposted July 31, 2011 at 4:23 pm Reply

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

  19. Rosaposted July 31, 2011 at 8:59 am Reply

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

    Congrats on making Foodbuzz’s Top 9!



  20. Monetposted July 30, 2011 at 9:54 pm Reply

    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!

  21. Annposted July 30, 2011 at 9:53 pm Reply

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

  22. Kim - Liv Lifeposted July 30, 2011 at 12:25 pm Reply

    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!

  23. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidenceposted July 30, 2011 at 8:25 am Reply

    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.

  24. Angie's Recipesposted July 30, 2011 at 6:52 am Reply

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

  25. Cristinaposted July 29, 2011 at 11:01 pm Reply

    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! ;)

  26. wizzythestickposted July 29, 2011 at 8:23 pm Reply

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

  27. 5 Star Foodieposted July 29, 2011 at 7:29 pm Reply

    Wow, that is one decadent treat for sure!

  28. marlaposted July 29, 2011 at 2:38 pm Reply

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

  29. Pingback: Affogato al Cafe — Villeroy & Boch Blog

  30. Denise @ Creative Kitchenposted July 29, 2011 at 9:23 am Reply

    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!!!

  31. Rachel @ Not Rachael Rayposted July 29, 2011 at 8:43 am Reply

    Oh YUM! Love the addition of Kahlua!

  32. Lindaposted July 29, 2011 at 7:42 am Reply

    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!

  33. Valerieposted July 29, 2011 at 4:50 am Reply

    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!

  34. elle marieposted July 29, 2011 at 3:52 am Reply

    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.

  35. Priya Sreeramposted July 28, 2011 at 9:30 pm Reply

    wowee- nice pics

  36. [email protected]posted July 28, 2011 at 7:09 pm Reply

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

  37. Kellyposted July 28, 2011 at 6:58 pm Reply

    This is so pretty and looks delicious!! :)

  38. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Dessertsposted July 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm Reply

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

  39. Georgia Pellegriniposted July 28, 2011 at 2:19 pm Reply

    What a perfect summer treat!

  40. torviewtorontoposted July 28, 2011 at 1:30 pm Reply

    beautiful treat looks wonderful

  41. Stevieposted July 28, 2011 at 11:22 am Reply

    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.

  42. Amy @ Gastronome Tartposted July 28, 2011 at 9:51 am Reply

    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!

  43. Chef Dennisposted July 28, 2011 at 9:30 am Reply

    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!

  44. carolinaheartstringsposted July 28, 2011 at 10:36 am Reply

    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.

  45. [email protected]posted July 28, 2011 at 8:33 am Reply

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

  46. Lana @ Never enough Thymeposted July 28, 2011 at 8:23 am Reply

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

  47. Tiff @ Babes and Kidsposted July 28, 2011 at 8:21 am Reply

    That looks so so yummy!

  48. pachecopattyposted July 28, 2011 at 8:20 am Reply

    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;-)

  49. Tricia Bposted July 28, 2011 at 8:07 am Reply

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

  50. Bella @WineandGoodFoodposted July 28, 2011 at 7:52 am Reply

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

  51. Lauren at Keep It Sweetposted July 28, 2011 at 8:46 am Reply

    What a pretty and delicious dessert!

  52. Cookin' Canuckposted July 28, 2011 at 7:44 am Reply

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

  53. Amy | She Wears Many Hatsposted July 28, 2011 at 7:33 am Reply

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

  54. kitchenarianposted July 28, 2011 at 7:28 am Reply

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

  55. Parsley Sageposted July 28, 2011 at 7:26 am Reply

    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 :)

  56. Emily Malloy @Cleanlinessposted July 28, 2011 at 7:13 am Reply


  57. Steve @ HPDposted July 28, 2011 at 6:55 am Reply

    “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.

  58. [email protected]posted July 28, 2011 at 6:53 am Reply

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

  59. Brookeposted July 28, 2011 at 8:39 am Reply

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

  60. Jennifer Eloffposted July 28, 2011 at 6:03 am Reply

    Yum – beautiful photos!!

  61. priya mahadevanposted July 28, 2011 at 5:54 am Reply

    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 :))

  62. Juanitaposted July 28, 2011 at 5:40 am Reply

    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!

  63. Annie Oakley's Kitchenposted July 28, 2011 at 5:35 am Reply

    So simple and delicious! Your pictures are so enticing!

  64. Katarinaposted July 28, 2011 at 3:58 am Reply

    Delicious :)

  65. Maris (In Good Taste)posted July 28, 2011 at 2:51 am Reply

    Goodness but that looks incredible! Pictures are terrific!

  66. The Cilantropistposted July 28, 2011 at 1:18 am Reply

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

  67. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchenposted July 28, 2011 at 12:14 am Reply

    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. :-)

  68. Sanjeeta kkposted July 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm Reply

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

  69. Heather | Farmgirl Gourmetposted July 27, 2011 at 10:42 pm Reply

    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 Gourmetposted July 27, 2011 at 11:03 pm Reply

      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!

  70. Susieposted July 27, 2011 at 10:57 pm Reply

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