Where to find the best affogatos in Christchurch
The beauty of an affogato is that it straddles coffee and dessert.
1. Rollickin Dessert Cafe, 35 New Regent St, central Christchurch
There's one big perk to getting an affogato at a gelato shop: plenty of options from which to choose. Our friendly server wisely advised us to stay away from the fruity sorbets, suggesting a dark chocolate gelato would be a great match with coffee. She was right. The hefty scoop of creamy gelato, served in an icecream dish, was divine with the bitter double espresso, which came in a shot glass.
This was definitely more of a dessert than a drink, although we did have some cold coffee left over after polishing off the delicious gelato. For a bargain price of $7.50, we reckon we'll be back to try another flavour very soon.
2. Maison de Crepes, Carlton Courts, 2 Papanui Rd, central Christchurch
Affogato wasn't listed on the hand-chalked board when we walked into Maison de Crepes, but the friendly staff assured it is requested so frequently, it is now an unofficial part of the menu. They use gelato, rather than icecream, and we were offered a choice of flavours: vanilla, chocolate, salted caramel or cookies and cream.
We chose salted caramel and it was promptly brought out in an elegant glass with a double shot of espresso. The sweet and salty scoop of caramel was a good contrast to the espresso, and the icecream to coffee ratio was spot on. At $9, the price is middle-of-the-road.
3. Francesca's Italian Kitchen, 149 Gloucester St, central Christchurch
The dolci (dessert) menu presented a conundrum: an affogato with Allpress espresso and vanilla icecream for $10 or with a shot of Frangelico for $16. As it was lunchtime and work awaited, we chose the former. It arrived attractively deconstructed into three components on a wooden tray.
We poured the espresso over the scoop of vanilla icecream in a glass, but chose not to add the gritty coffee beans. We demolished the delicious warm icecream first (we would have liked more for the price), then drank the chilled coffee. A decadent lunchtime treat, this one was more dessert than drink.
4. The Villas, 290 Montreal St, central Christchurch
Although listed on the coffee menu, The Villas' affogato leans more towards a dessert. It arrived deconstructed – two generous scoops of vanilla icecream served in a tall glass with a small jug of espresso, half a flaky chocolate bar and a sprinkling of coffee beans on the side.
The coffee was slightly bitter, but once added to the icecream, its sweetness balanced out. The chocolate bar didn't seem to serve a purpose, but we happily gobbled it up afterwards. For $6.20, this is very good value.
5. Cook 'n' with Gas, 23 Worcester Blvd, central Christchurch
"A long black topped with icecream" is the description of this affogato ($7) on the coffees menu. That didn't seem right. Shouldn't the coffee go on top? Does it matter which goes on top? All very giggly questions, which ended with the arrival of a glass of creamy tepid coffee and it was impossible to tell what was on top.
The coffee was served with a bowl of sugar, which again emphasises this affogato is a drink, not a spoon-it-up dessert. In that respect it's fine, but possibly there are better ways to toast the end of the meal with coffee.