My replication of the delicious Coffee Gelato I ate after every meal in Italy! Perfectly creamy and spiked with espresso, this recipe is pure deliciousness.

Zurich and Como and Venice, oh my! Yes, I’ve just returned home from a Eurotrip, and boy was it incredible. I’ve been dying to go to Italy for years, so when my Dad found out he needed to go to Zurich, Switzerland for business, I begged to tag along and explore Switzerland and Italy with him. He complied, and wow – what a gorgeous, indescribable place.

We started out in Zurich, easily one of the coolest, most gorgeous cities I’ve ever been to. The whole city is immaculate and run so smoothly it makes America look like a third world country. The tree lined streets are filled with urbanites and business people who waltz along, shopping in the incredible Spruengli and Lindt chocolate stores and Rodeo-esque boutiques, all surrounded by the backdrop of the sparkling Lake Zurich. This was the one city I really wished we had more time in – I could’ve walked, shopped, and talked on Bahnofstrasse all day long.

But, Italy called so my Dad and I hopped into our rental car and drove over the border to Cernobbio, a small town that lies right on Lake Como. The drive was something everyone needs to experience. Green lush land was interrupted by cascading waterfalls and large boulders, with quaint country houses nestled into the countryside. I decided I would have no problems living in the middle of nowhere if it meant living in a place so exquisitely beautiful. We did, eventually, make it to Italy though and we again marveled at the beauty of our surroundings. We spent our time at Villa D’Este, such a gorgeous hotel. We didn’t really do much of anything except read in the sun, lay out on the floating pool (heck yes! It was too cool), and eat. Boy, did we eat! I swear, I’ve eaten so many caprese salads I’m surprised I’m not bleeding tomatoes and sweating mozzarella. Everyday lunch and dinner were three course meals, all bursting with traditional Italian flavors. We were in food heaven, to say the least.

Above: The real Bellagio, we took a boat there from our hotel in Cernobbio.

Below: Venice! How gorgeous.

Our last stop was Venice, which is an experience unlike any other. It was crowded, hot, surreal, and gorgeous. It’s truly a place that can’t be captured in pictures or words – you just need to experience it for yourself. In Venice, we explored, shopped, and took in the culture. We visited Murano and watched glass being blown – which looks terribly hard and hot – and we strolled in and out of churches and palaces. But again, food dominated that city as well. We ate many incredible meals, saw some of the most beautifully designed plates I’ve ever seen, and even ate Caprese salad dessert: basil ice cream, thinly sliced cherry tomatoes, and mozzarella cream. It was surprisingly delicious. But the one thing I can’t not talk about is the gelato.

Oh boy, the gelato. We ate gelato after every meal. With gelaterias on every corner and tucked up every alley, it was impossible to resist. My dad stuck with chocolate, but I tried a number of flavors. I tried an incredible flavor; I forget the Italian name but it had something to do with meringue and white chocolate. Absolute heaven! My favorite was the coffee gelato though. It was light, beyond creamy, and I could’ve eaten gallons. When I got home, I set out to recreate it.

While it’s impossible to nail that texture at home without a gelato maker, I did pretty well with the flavor! It has a strong coffee flavor, but it’s nicely balanced with the sweetness of the gelato base. Not to toot my own horn, but the flavor is just about identical to the gelato of most of the places we went in Italy. I did pretty well! It’s pretty easy to make too, even though I accidentally curdled the custard (oops) it came back together easily with an immersion blender. I hope you’ll try it and get yourself a taste of Italy!

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Coffee Gelato

  • Author: Rachel Conners
  • Yield: 1 quart 1x
  • Category: ice cream
  • Cuisine: dessert


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup sugar (plus 1/4 cup)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 shots espresso


  1. In a saucepan combine the milk, cream, and 1/3 cup sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whip, the egg yolks with the remaining sugar using an electric mixer until the eggs have become thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes. (If your mixture curdles, just use an immersion blender, food processor, or blender to blend it back together. It will be fine.)
  3. Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the warm custard mixture through the strainer. Stir in the espresso. Chill mixture completely before pouring into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to freeze.

Keywords: ice cream, gelato, dessert, espresso, coffee, chocolate, no bake


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