Vanilla gelato in a milky green tea bath

Light on the belly and delectable to eat, the key to this 'matcha-ffogato,' green tea mixed with warm milk, is good quality ingredients. Pour over a scoop of vanilla gelato for a pick-me-up treat.

Pickles and Tea
Sweet vanilla gelato swimming in a green tea and milk bath perfectly balances warm and cool textures with sweet and bitter flavors.

Three years ago this August, I gave up caffeinated coffee.

I still drink decaf coffee and I still drink tea, both black and green. However, I feel like a disgrace to my Seattle-bred espresso habit every time I order a decaf, soy milk caffe latte. (Yes, I’m lactose-intolerant, too.)

Then recently, my husband ordered himself an affogato (a scoop of vanilla ice cream drowned in espresso) while we were vacationing in Philadelphia. It seemed the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. The bitterness of the coffee was the perfect foil to the sweet ice cream and the caffeine gave him a much needed jolt after our heavy lunch. I was envious.

A few weeks later I discovered an affogato of sorts, but this time made with matcha, that shockingly-green tea powder, the star of Japanese tea ceremonies and assorted wagashi. Thank you Bon Appetit magazine!

I tweaked the recipe a little and sprinkled a little nori furikake (seaweed seasoning) on top. “Huh?” you might wonder. It’s no more unconventional than a shower of Maldon salt over chocolate truffles. And trust me, it’s delightful!

If you can find a local tea shop, ask for their recommended matcha powder. If not, Republic of Tea has a nice one. I also prefer gelato to ice cream but feel free to use either/or.

Green tea gelato or Matcha-ffogato
Adapted from  Bon Appetit Magazine
Serves 4

1 teaspoon matcha powder
1 cup unsweetened soy, almond or cow’s milk
1 pint vanilla gelato (preferably vanilla bean)
Nori furikake for sprinkling

1. Place the matcha in a medium bowl with a lip. Pour the soy milk into a measuring cup or a mug and microwave on high for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, or until hot. (My microwave is 1100 watts). Pour about 2 to 3 tablespoons of hot soy milk over the matcha and whisk, pressing out any lumps, until you have a smooth paste. Pour in the remaining milk and whisk until all the matcha dissolves.

2. Divide the gelato among 4 small bowls or coffee cups. Pour about 1/2 cup matcha milk into each bowl and sprinkle with nori furikake. Serve immediately.

Notes: You can buy nori furikake at most Asian stores. If you can't find it, crumble some toasted nori (seaweed) instead.

Related post on Pickles and Tea: A Childhood Revival—Yakult Float

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