May 30, 2009

Italian way to cool down

caffe shakerato, I asked for milk in mine

When the temps rise here in Italy, the land that frowns on air-conditioning.... there are several ways to beat the heat. One of course is to get thee to a gelato shop NOW! I have some of my favorites in Florence listed on my website. There is one in almost every neighborhood, I sugges ordering the smallest size and eating more often!

There are several different things you can order:
gelato- which is ice cream
semifreddo- a semi-frozen whipped cream
granita- a traditional sicilian treat, icy and more liquidy that you can eat and sip! I adore coffee granita with whipped cream- the sicilian breakfast!

Another way to cool down is switching to a caffe' shakerato- a shot of coffee, shaken over ice.
Usually done with ice, I have also had it with gelato at my local coffee bar in Certaldo.

You can find the recipes on my newsletter on the website.

It is also possible to order your gelato, affogato, which means drowned. Some of my favorite ways to drown my ice cream are:

A vanilla tartufo( and premade ice cream "truffle" sold in most bars and some restaurants.) with a shot of expresso.

A chocolate tartufo with Jack Daniels.

Apple sorbet with Calvado's ( served at Cafaggio's on via Guelfa)

Lemon sorbet with Vodka- if blended, a version of Sgroppino- a Venetian after dinner drink/dessert.

Another favorite which is harder to find is the semifreddo sometimes called a mattonella in Florence. Whipped cream is sweetened and toasted nuts are added. It is frozen in a loaf pan and cut into slices to serve. Tuscan Dai-Dai makes theirs with pinenuts.

I adore the semifreddo di mandorle I get in Chianti at Oltre il Giardino, but the chef Anna won't share her recipe. I just returned from Sicily where I had it in several places and finally found a printed recipe. Worth the price of the book.

Semifreddo di Mandorle

Almond Semifreddo

2 cups fresh whipping cream
4 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 oz, chopped toasted almonds

Mix the egg yolks ( save the whites) with the sugar.

Whip cream until stiff.
Add the whipping cream a little at a time to the egg yolk mixture.

Whip the egg whites and fold into the mixture a little at a time.

Fold in the chopped toasted almonds and freeze.
(If you are feeling creative, you can make a brittle from the almonds first, then when cook, crush in the food processor.)

Serve as is or topped with a chocolate or caramel sauce.

I am waiting now for the watermelon to make my watermelon granita!( recipe is in the sidebar) or you may want to try my friend David Lebovitz's take on my recipe, where he made "spiked" popsicles.

With June arriving- I have already had my first Panzanella, the Tuscan bread salad and also tuna and bean salad.

Get ready to enjoy the season. Buon appetito!


  1. Oh... how much I miss having those wonderful gelatos while I was visiting Italy... The shakerato looks very refreshing!

  2. The coffee looks scrumptious. A pick me up and a coolant! The semifreddo reminds me of the nougat ice cream I had in Toulouse and have been trying to replicate. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Hello! I have created a blog where I'll be adding all posts related to the European things. Do you mind if I add a link to this post?
    Thank you!


  4. Vanilla Lavender- as long as you link!

  5. Oh my you are driving me crazy! Gelato, semifreddo, affogato, granità how I miss all of it!

  6. Peach sorbet with Lillet also make a wonderful affogato!

  7. Hi! Your semifreddo recipe was nominated as one of the "Best 300 Semifreddo Recipes on the Net". To vote for it, please visit - your recipe is positioned at #159 (random order).