Running hot and cold

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Seeing affogato, a scoop of gelato splashed with a shot of espresso (see 'Bites of spring,â?� Feb. 15, 2007) on the menu at Piccolo, a primo gelato joint in the Whole Foods plaza on Turkey Lake Road, gave me cause for excitement. The combination of hazelnut gelato (made on the premises every day) and a perfectly pulled shot of Lavazza espresso had me swooning ' a thick head of crema made the rich, creamy mixture all the more so ($5.95). But, though affogato is a relatively simple pick-me-up to concoct, aesthetics are key to fully enjoying the dessert-slash-beverage, and the uninteresting presentation motivated me to finish it quickly, rather than savoring it.

Still, the artisanal gelato here shines ' more than 100 recipes with 24 flavors, from panna cotta and strawberry to basil and zabaglione, available daily ($4.75). You'll also find a selection of crepes (sweet, $4.95; savory, $6.99) and paninis on hand; I loved the meaty portobello with sun-dried tomato pesto and grana padano ($6.99). Lunch specials often combine the sweet with the savory for a piccolo price.

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