The coffee gelato bars at Gelataio stick out in a crowded field of desserts. (Photo by Sheri Anderson)

On National Coffee Day, let’s all take a second to remember that coffee is not just about kick-starting your day. At the end of the day, it can be the ideal flavoring in many of our most important foods—ice cream, cheesecake, tiramisu, cream pie. Did I mention Kahlua?

There is, rightfully, so much fuss about who pours the best cup of coffee—is it Stumptown in Portland or Philz in San Francisco, Slate in Seattle or Klatch in Rancho Cucamonga?

But what about coffee-powered desserts? Who makes the best? The Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee ice cream at San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe’s comes to mind, as does the espresso granita at the city’s Zuni Café.

To honor my favorite bean today, I had a scoop of coffee perfection at Gelataio (121 Lytton Ave., Palo Alto; after lunch.

What’s the best coffee dessert you’ve ever had?

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