Steep Stories

of the Lazy Literatus

Late-Night Lattes and Gelato

© 2012 Affogato

Earlier in the week, I was invited to a couple’s house for dinner. I’d known said couple for several years. The wife is a zany interior decorator, and her husband is a homebrewer. Their son – the new arrival to their little nest – was the most expressive toe-head of a baby I’d ever seen. Cute as a button.

They succeeded in accomplishing an amazing feat that night – getting me to eat an entirely vegetarian meal. That and eating everything that was on my plate. If it hasn’t been made obvious, I’m the very antithesis of a vegetarian. Meat is delicious.

If someone said to me, “That will kill you someday.”

My response would be, “The sooner the better!” All the while gleefully OM-NOM-ing my way into happy oblivion.

Both had prepared a wondrous meal of cooked barley and kale salad. The only thing not a vegetable was the goat cheese, which was also fantastic. And something I hadn’t had before. But the day o’ firsts didn’t end there. Ooooh no.

Following a mediocre outing for beers (and rude waiters), the couple suggested we stop off at a gelato place for dessert. I’d never had it before. They described it as “ice cream made with egg and milk…and awesome!” (paraphrased slightly). Only time I’d ever heard of it was in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.

The location in question – known as Affogato – was within walking distance from their fair ‘burb in St. John’s, a very distant fringe of Portland. The gelato/espresso place had only been open for six weeks. Both of the owners were brothers, and – aside from the gelato that they made themselves – they also (as I was told) made/boiled/blended a mean masala chai.

Yes, it's a bad picture, but - trust me - it was delicious.

Yes, it

I had determined to only stick with the gelato. My cup was a hybrid of “Milk Chocolate Chunk” and regular chocolate. It was the stuff Care Bear Heaven was made of. I gleefully devoured it with very little poise or posture, making a mess the entire way. What I wasn’t expecting was how filling it would be.

@ 2012 Affogato

@ 2012 Affogato

While I was inhaling my dessert, I queried Simon (the co-owner) about their chai some more. He informed me that they did all the blending and brewing themselves – just like everything else in their shop. This made my ears perk. Then he informed me that they boiled the spices for multiple hours. I drilled him for ingredients. He told me their signature blend contained orange pekoe, ginger, cardamom, cloves, anise, nutmeg, peppercorns, honey, orange zest, cinnamon, coconut sugar, and…lastly…

Vanilla beans!

I ordered the chai latte.

To be honest, I’m not usually a masala chai sorta guy. When I do have it, I prefer the spices to be balanced with the milk, sweetness, and black tea base. It’s easy to make masala chai and the latte variant, but it’s also easy to mess it up. This was perfectly balanced. On the spice end, ginger definitely took point, but it was reined in by the vanilla presence. That and texturally it was fluffy but full-bodied. These brothers knew what they were doing.

I left with a tummy full of warming awesome.

Now, all I’ve gotta do is convince them to make a masala chai gelato.

*Cue evil laughter*

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lazyliteratus

Tea blogger, professional cleaner of toilets, amateur people watcher.
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16 Comments

  1. Margo

    Gelato is why the Italians stay in Italy!

  2. Profile photo of ThePurrfectCup

    Oooh this sounds like a fantastic gorge fest! It also reminds me I have some peanut putter flavored gelato in the freezer….

  3. Profile photo of lazyliteratus

    I live with a Maine Coon. I can deal. *heh*

  4. Profile photo of Robert Godden

    Gelati is a way of life here. So many Italian immigrants. It’s a much better alternative to ice cream. And I’ll be making some Aussie Ginger Chai gelato next weekend, so if you happen to drip by, Geoff, you can try it.

  5. Profile photo of Xavier

    How is different from an ice cream?
    The ones I know were not really that great and I still prefer my good old ice cream.

  6. Profile photo of Jackie

    I didn’t even know there was a defined difference, other than Gelato being the Italian word for ice cream. Reading up on it, I’ve read that it contains less cream (more whole milk) than American ice cream and possibly more sugar. I had noticed that it’s softer. I also now know it’s more dense.
    My all time favorite Gelato ice cream place was in Maine. We have some here too, but the Maine one was the best. Anyway, I digress. Chai latte is not for me, give me those spices in a hot dish, great but not in a drink please.

    • Profile photo of lazyliteratus

      I’m usually the same way with masala chai. Lighter on the spice. But I’m a sucker for a good tea latte.

      And, yes, gelato is extremely dense. One small scoop filled me…and that’s quite feat.

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