Can you tell we’re on a little bit of a gelato kick? And considering how hot it is outside, can you blame us? So sticking to our theme for the week…
The first time I walked into Love ‘n Faith Community Cafe on 14th Street, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Was I in the mood for ice cream, or did I really just need a coffee? Well, the smoke wafting from the liquid nitrogen made me giddy like a child, inviting me to press my face against the glass to witness everything behind the scenes. My mind was made up – ice cream it is! But wait. I still wanted a little caffeine boost, and since Danielle and I were meeting to discuss coffee, it would feel inappropriate without it. The solution to my delicious dilemma: an affogato.
Affogato means “drowned” in Italian as the gelato is literally drowned by a shot of freshly brewed espresso. Traditionally made with vanilla gelato or ice cream, it is often served as an after-dinner dessert. Also, because of the mixture of hot and cold, it remains a popular treat throughout all seasons.
The first time I tried an affogato was on vacation in Rome, and I was surprised at the bittersweet taste that transpired as the cool gelato began to give in to the piping hot espresso. I felt like I was supposed to like it, I wanted to like it, but I remained unsure, wishing I had just stuck to my usual order of stracciatella. It was not until I moved to D.C. several years back that I decided to give affogatos another shot, now knowing a bit more what to expect. I remember waiting patiently (it might have been impatiently) in line at the Pitango in Penn Quarter and once it was my turn to order asking the person behind the counter what he would recommend. It did not take him long to suggest a chocolate hazelnut affogato. The rest, they say, is history.
A variety of other gelato shops offer affogatos, such as Dolcezza and Dolci Gelati, as well as several local coffee shops, like Qualia and Vigilante. Oftentimes they’ll provide a variety of flavor options for those wanting to branch out; however, if you find yourself dining in an Italian restaurant, don’t expect an affogato in anything other than its traditional form. One of the most memorable affogatos I’ve ever tasted was at Momofoku in CityCenter. After inhaling one of their famous bowls of ramen, I decided to indulge in the affogato provided by its sister bakery, Milk Bar – it came in the form of cereal milk soft serve topped with a fresh double shot of espresso. It was just as sweet as I imagined it to be, and it offered a different vehicle in which to participate in the recent cereal milk soft serve craze I had been seeing on social media.
There is one thing that I surprisingly have not tried yet… Did you know some places give you the option of adding liqueur to your affogato?! Danielle brought this to my attention. She was once served an affogato in Sydney with a shot of amaretto, and it is now actually how she prefers it. Now that sounds like the perfect after-dinner treat!
Returning to my visit to Love ‘n Faith, I decided on an affogato with cookies ‘n cream ice cream. As I waited for it to be prepared, I sat down at one of their handmade tables decorated with thoughtful quotes. The smoke from the liquid nitrogen began to dissipate throughout the cafe, and one of the employees kindly delivered my order to me. I loved how my drowned ice cream was still smoking when it got to the table. Love ‘n Faith just provided another experience in which to enjoy an affogato.
I’d like to know, where is your favorite place for an affogato? Any cool flavor combinations I should try?