Affogato ... it’s so delicious, so why isn’t it more widely known?
The affogato is a rarely offered dessert, and why that is, is a mystery.
Indeed, friends of ours who know almost everything there is to know about Italy and have just returned from a week in a luxury apartment once occupied by Casanova on The Grand Canal in Venice – with their own mooring – and where they were invited to dinner by a Countess… even they had never heard of it.
(Just as an aside we are now trying to book a stay in the wing of that palace in Naples where Lord Nelson stayed with Emma Hamilton – with our own parking spot – just to keep up.)
Our friends popped round for dinner at our place and I thought I would give them a reminder of their trip by finishing after the cheese course with an affogato.
Their puzzled expressions were, I’m glad to say, replaced by happy smiles once they were tucking in to its delight.
Affogato consists of ice cream, espresso coffee, crumbled amaretto biscuits and a drizzle of amaretto liqueur.
Freshly made and warm espresso and the liqueur trickle down over the ice cream – vanilla is a good contrast – and gradually melt it to form a partnership with the biscuit so delicious it possibly should be banned.
Now you know what I’m talking about.
In an Italian restaurant, if it’s not offered they will usually put one together if you ask, and that was the case when we visited La Rocca last week.
Set up with a bottle of beautifully aromatic Amabile Orvieto Classic La Carraia – and a jug of tap water in case the wine disappeared too quickly – we are on garlic mushrooms and formaggio.
The dish is still sizzling from the oven as I make my way through what is a huge mound of firm and infused and lightly bread-crumbed mushrooms, and I decide I too will have a formaggio.
It is a garlic bread with golden brown cheese on top and, apart from its other qualities, serves well in mopping up the garlic infused oil from the base of my still hot dish.
Spaghetti is to be our main courses, carbonara in my case and amatriciana in your reviewer’s assistant’s case.
Both come in must-seek-out-in-the-shops white porcelain bowls.
The fresh cream clings to the strands from the outset for me, and conversely the flavours of the garlic and basil tomato sauce, the tomato, bacon and onions all infuse together the more they were mixed with the spaghetti by the diligent assistant.
And so to the affogato. It has one other quality which I hadn’t mentioned.
After the, frankly, unashamed stuffing which has just occurred, it offers a light dessert when any other would be too much.
Sadly, it’s not a classic.
This one is a cup of Americano, not espresso, with a dollop of ice cream dropped in, and there’s no biscuit.
I feel guilty for having asked for it, but thankful for a chef wanting to give a customer what he wanted.
Name: La Rocca
Address: 77 Water Street, Chorley
Contact: 01257 249400 or www.laroccachorley.co.uk
Opening hours: Monday 5pm-9.30pm. Tuesday-Thursday 5pm-10.30pm. Friday-Saturday 5pm-11pm. Sunday Noon-9pm
Other details: Early Bird three courses £11.95 Tuesday-Thursday 5pm-10.30pm. Friday-Saturday 5pm-6pm. Suday Noon-6pm
Wheelchair access: Yes for ground floor, stairs to first floor