A delicious vocab lesson: The word “affogato” comes from the Italian for “to drown,” which is awfully dark for something as tasty as a scoop of vanilla gelato doused in a shot of hot espresso. Instead, just think of affogato as a wondrous way to end a meal. And now you can enjoy it all over town.
Amanda Rockman, the pastry chef at Nico Osteria, adores the ritual of the dessert—pouring and stirring the mixture into a sweet slurry—so much that she came up with four variations for Nico, including one with banana gelato swimming in thick hot chocolate and another with fior di latte in bitter orange soda—think an Italian Creamsicle.
Rockman is hardly the only one riffing on the classic: The Peasantry spikes its with amaretto to smooth out any lingering espresso bitterness, the Purple Pig goes completely over the top rotating flavors of soft serve such as salted caramel and peanut butter drizzled with chocolate syrup, while Cicchetti turns the versatile treat topsy-turvy altogether, steeping coffee gelato in malted crème anglaise.
You can also enjoy the serviceable, straightforward take at Tesori—a baby step into the world of affogato. Like Rockman says, “Even though it looks simple, it tastes complex.”