Affogato is a simple dessert that doesn’t require a recipe. Espresso poured over coffee with a little grated chocolate and hazelnuts for good measure.


Affogato is one of those food words that sound fun. If you haven’t heard of it you want to know what it is, and if you like coffee you want to try it.

This is a simple dessert that doesn’t require a recipe. Just a dish of ice cream with espresso poured over it, topped with grated chocolate and hazelnuts if you like. When there’s nothing for dessert if I have vanilla ice cream in the freezer I can make affogato.

I have an inexpensive, stovetop style espresso maker in the back of a cupboard in my kitchen. I’ve had it for thirty years, it doesn’t take up much room and if I want a latte or cappuccino I can make one. I also keep espresso beans because you never know what you might want to make, so that’s how affogato became my favourite pandemic dessert.

Grated chocolate and hazelnuts are the final toppings for my Italian Affogato.
Shaved chocolate and toasted hazelnuts make a delicious topping.

Espresso vs Coffee

The topic of coffee goes deep and I’m no expert but I’m a consumer and I own a few different coffee makers.

Espresso is made with finely ground beans and then brewed with a high ratio of grounds to water. Coffee is more coarsely ground and less concentrated so has a more mild flavour.

Affogato is made with espresso but part of the joy of cooking is that you can make whatever you want and you can call it whatever you want. So you can pour any kind of coffee on any kind of ice cream and I don’t have a problem with you calling it affogato. Just for fun.

In case you’re wondering you can buy decaf espresso beans, whole or ground.

PIN for later…

Grated chocolate and hazelnuts being sprinkled on cups with ice cream and espresso, Italian Affogato.

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Get The Tools

Coffee lovers probably have more than one way to make coffee at home and you might even own a fancy stainless espresso machine with steam wand, many people do. But for the everyday cook who wants to make espresso for the occasional dinner, a mocha flavoured recipe or affogato you can buy a simple stovetop espresso maker for less than twenty dollars.

Everyday to Gourmet

Quality ingredients and presentation are a large part of what makes a meal seem “gourmet”. This is a perfect example of something super simple that you could serve to friends for dessert. For an Italian themed Gourmet dinner this would end the meal nicely.

I write about starting a Gourmet Dinner Club and share menus. This dessert makes me think of a simple Italian menu. Make simple the focus and you’d be surprised how gourmet it is when you’re at the table.

Let me know in the comments below if you tried affogato.

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More Recipes with Coffee


I call this a "no-recipe recipe". You need the ingredients if this dessert is new to you but you don't need specific amounts. It is so simple it became my go-to COVID dessert for any night of the week.
Author: Cinde Little
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: affogato


  • vanilla ice cream
  • freshly brewed espresso
  • OPTIONAL GARNISH - grated dark chocolate, toasted hazelnuts


  • Put a large scoop of vanilla ice cream into a small coffee cup or dessert dish.
  • Pour 3 Tbsp hot espresso over the ice cream.
  • Sprinkle with grated chocolate and chopped hazelnuts if desired.
  • Serve immediately.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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