Espresso Zabaglione




The land of so many things we love to eat and drink. Pasta, cheese, wine, and of course my favorite, coffee!!

If you’ve ever been to Italy you know there’s a certain way that Italians drink their coffee. Not on the way to work every morning and then a few more times during the day at their desk. Not from a drive thru, or even a convenience store. No, Italians like to sit, relax, take in some fresh air, talk up a storm, and enjoy their coffee; espresso to be exact. Short, strong, bold, sweet and to the point. It’s usually just a shot that they sip on while discussing the latest drama on the streets. Our way of drinking coffee is silly to them, they call it “Café Americano”. Not as an insult, but as a way to appeal to the non-Italian. As far as Italians are concerned, espresso is the way to go.

That brings me to today’s entry. My second one!!

Someone recently told me a story about what it was like growing up in Italy many years ago, and how everything was simple, beautiful, relaxed, and enjoyable. Paradise, remember? We got to talking about food and preparing simple meals which were rich and delicious. The simplest one we talked about is called espresso zabaglione. Now I know what espresso is, but what in the world is zabaglione? I’ll give you the full recipe and see if you can figure it out.

  • Espresso
  • Sugar
  • 2-4 Egg yolks

That’s right, zabaglione is everything that ISN’T the espresso. It’s the egg yolk and sugar part formed together to make some sort of dessert, usually served with wine. Usually! Today, it will be served with something else. Not wine, but the drink on the other side of the spectrum. Not a downer, but a serious upper. You guessed it, espresso.

First get the egg whites out, add some sugar to the yolks, and whip it all up until it has a thick and foamy texture (3 minutes or so). Add about a cup of freshly made boiling hot espresso to the cup so that the egg actually cooks inside of that, and continue to whip until it blends together. Pour it into a cup and viola! Espresso zabaglione.

First, what does this have to do with travel? I’ll tell you. After all, this is a travel blog (without the traveling part…so far). Travel is about culture. It’s about learning things from cultures, bringing them back home, and using or sharing that information. Improving your quality of life! It’s education. It’s true, I didn’t get this from Italy, but I did get this from a native Italian, and that’s good enough for me!

You’re probably thinking egg yolks and espresso wouldn’t go together. I’ll tell you that’s exactly what I thought too. Egg yolk is nasty, it’s got that slimy kind of texture to it compared with the rich and roasted taste of strong and bold espresso. However, I’ve heard a lot of crazy coffee stories in my time as a coffee freak. Someone I used to know was so into trying new types of coffee, he actually added molasses to his coffee! That doesn’t sound too appetizing, does it? He seemed to love it. I honestly don’t even know what molasses tastes like, but it doesn’t seem too appealing from the name alone, just like asparagus, mustard, and hummus…feeling adventurous? Try adding those to your coffee.

Anyway, it turns out espresso zabaglione is delicious. Yes, it is something you drink, not eat. It’s a great breakfast in my opinion. Quick, easy to make, enjoyable and you’ll be bouncing off the walls with a caffeine high! I’ve made it three times already and all three times I was pleased. It’s very sweet, depending on how much sugar you add. The egg gives it a creamy texture, a nice foamy head which doesn’t die down which is a cornerstone of a good espresso. I’m planning on making this treat for some time to come.

So there you have espresso zabaglione! Next time you go to Italy make sure to mention it to the locals, I’m sure they’ll be impressed.

To finish, here’s a tip on how to drink espresso. One part espresso, one part burnt sugar, one part your favorite ice cream. Pour the espresso over the top for the best damn homemade dessert that money can buy.

Peace, love, cheers,

John DeSarno


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