An Italian Affogato Sundae
I know, I know, everyone is hitting the gym these days and trying to cleanse after the holiday food fest, but I could just not resist sharing this amazing recipe. Valentine's Day is coming up, just sayin'.
I was recently shopping in a local specialty olive oil and vinegar shop, Bella Gusta, picking up some oils and vinegars for my post-holiday salad eating extravaganza, when I came across their espresso flavored balsamic. Now I am a HUGE fan of many of their other fine flavors such as cranberry pear white balsamic (perfect on a spinach salad with grilled chicken and pear), peach (amazing drizzled over grilled fresh peaches in the summertime), and of course their aged traditional balsamic that I pretty much use daily. But espresso????
I read the little card they have posted that offers serving suggestions, and it said to make an "affogato" float, which essentially translates to "drowned" in Italian, but also describes a coffee-based dessert. So the serving suggestion called for four parts of quality vanilla bean ice cream to one part espresso balsamic. I was a little weary, but had to try it out. I mean I love balsamic, and I love ice cream; how bad can it be?
Not sure about you, but I am all about texture when it comes to my food, particularly dessert. I felt this was going to need some crunch and wanted to crumble some amaretti cookies on top, but unfortunately couldn't find amaretti cookies at my local grocery store. I settled on some almond and dark chocolate biscotti and I was just as pleased. By the way, I did recently find amaretti cookies at a local Italian market, Skappo Merkato, in New Haven, CT. Check your local Italian specialty shop or you can shop Skappo online if you have your heart set on the amaretti cookies.
So to put this treat together I purchased some Haagen-Dazs vanilla bean ice cream ( I also like Talenti brand), some Nonni's Biscotti and of course the unexpected star of the show...the espresso flavored balsamic from Bella Gusta.
I was serving this for guests, so wanted the presentation to look nice. Fortunately, I have an adorable and generous grandmother with a massive china closet chock-full of vintage glassware. I love these old champagne glasses that I use both for mimosas as well as dessert cups. Seriously people, don't go spending a lot of money at department stores on glassware, check out your grandma's or local consignment/Goodwill shops. I personally prefer the look of the older stuff anyway!
How does it taste you ask? Well, you definitely get a slightly tart bite from the balsamic, however, the creaminess of the ice cream off sets it, and then the crunch with the dark chocolate...mmmmmmm!! An easy and fabulous combination. I like it because it is different and kinda fancy without being too fancy. Try it!
P.S. Bella Gusta ships, so if you are not local and want to give this a try go on their website, HERE for more information on ordering. And if you are feeling guilty, be sure to get some of their other amazing balsamic flavors to help jazz up your salad eating regimen!