Coffee and dessert go together like peanut butter and jelly, or wine and cheese. The classic combinations balance each other in taste, spiking the buds’ senses, from sweet to savory. Aside from utter deliciousness, the four locales we pinpointed for the pairings had one recurring theme: tradition. Feast your eyes on the beautiful displays, and find an awakening reason to stop and sip slowly à la European culture.

By Andrea Bosco
Photography: Michael Fornataro

loyal consumer

La Prima Espresso Company sources to 50-plus restaurants in and around Pittsburgh, via bikes, no less! Get your coffee hot, directly from the source, at its Strip District bar. We opted for a traditional Italian cappuccino, with espresso and steamed milk, and a vanilla cannoli from its bakery, Colangelo’s, next door.

The Best Coffee and Dessert Pairings, La Prima Espresso, Pittsburgh

 

la dolce vita

Il Pizzaiolo has rolled out a fresh dessert menu, laden with old-world ingredients and heavy technique. Owner Ron Molinaro taste-tested, as Pastry Chef Jodie McCann spent hours in the kitchen, perfecting these from-scratch recipes found in Italian-language cookbooks. The Sfogliatella is as good as it gets. Its layered, shell-shaped dough is filled with sweetened ricotta and candied orange, and native to Neapolitan cuisine. Traditionally served in threes in Sorrento, the Delizia al Limone is a sponge cake filled with lemon pastry cream, limoncello, and whipped cream, and topped with a smooth lemon-vanilla bean cream. With Passalacqua Moana espresso completing the spread, you don’t have far to go to escape to the Amalfi Coast.

The Best Coffee and Dessert Pairings, Il Pizzaiolo, Pittsburgh

 

eat like the french

La Gourmandine Bakery bustles like a typical day in France. Customers venture in for lunch of Le Parisien (French baguette with butter, ham, and Swiss cheese), or begin their mornings with café et pâtisserie. We nibbled on lemon madeleines (French butter cakes) and croissants. Owner Fabien Moreau encouraged us to dunk each pastry in our La Prima blend in true Parisian fashion.

The Best Coffee and Dessert Pairings, La Gourmandine Bakery, Pittsburgh

 

made by mom

Celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich whipped up the tiramisu recipe for Lidia’s Italy Pittsburgh, of course. It’s a version of the Italian classic with layers of espresso, rum-soaked ladyfingers, and rum-flavored Mascarpone cream. Topped with cocoa powder, we found the treat can be deliciously enjoyed with Lavazza espresso.

The Best Coffee and Dessert Pairings, Lidia's Italy Pittsburgh, Strip District

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