I tasted “affogato” for the first time in 1986 on my first trip to Italy. We were touring Italy for two weeks to see if we could move there with our family. It was a fantastic trip that I’ll never forget, and in fact, we did move to Milan, Italy, the following year, where we lived for eight years.

On this first trip, we were in Florence, Piazza della Signoria in fact. We had been touring the city for hours and needed a break, so we took seats at a bar in the piazza. I wanted both gelato and espresso because I needed a pick-me-up. The waiter said he knew exactly what I needed and brought me my first affogato in a tall clear glass with a long spoon inside. An affogato or more traditionally known as “affogato al caffe” (which is Italian for “drowned”) is an Italian coffee and gelato based dessert. It was indeed a memorable experience and one that I often repeated through the years whenever I visited Florence.

This is probably one of the easiest desserts you can make, but it is truly remarkable when you use quality ingredients. It usually takes the form of a scoop of Fior di latte or vanilla gelato or ice cream topped or “drowned” with a shot of hot espresso.

Although this is a typical treat served at many local bars across Italy, you can easily make a treat at home for friends and family. Some folks like to add a shot of liqueur along with the espresso, but I prefer the pure form of creamy vanilla gelato topped with a shot of rich espresso. It is said that the ratio should be one shot of espresso to two scoops of gelato, but when you are making it yourself, you can adjust to your preferences.

An affogato is most commonly made with vanilla gelato, though a quality vanilla bean ice cream works, too. For my version in the photos, I garnished the dessert with a chocolate-covered espresso bean on top of a dollop of whipped cream, and added some crumbled biscotti on top for texture. You could also add some shaved dark chocolate if you prefer instead.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 



Yield: Serves 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A traditional Italian treat using just two ingredients of the best quality.


  • 1 Shot Espresso
  • 2 Scoops Vanulla Gelato


  1. Brew espresso.
  2. Place two scoops of gelato in a clear glass serving dish.
  3. Pour one shot of espresso over the gelato and serve immediately.
    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 449Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 287mgSodium: 217mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 0gSugar: 41gProtein: 8g

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