Many Americans start their meals with a salad — often a very boring salad. But in classic European cuisine, the salad comes last in the line of savory dishes. You can read a great discussion about this over at The Kitchn.

A salad finisher

We found this great warm mushroom salad with hazelnuts at Smitten Kitchen that would make a perfect finishing course. Hazelnuts are an earthy addition to the tanginess of the dressing and the saltiness of the pecorino.

No caffeine, but plenty of steam

We couldn’t help but think that a sweet hazelnut beverage would be the perfect way to complement and finish off those flavor combinations. Sometimes you just don’t need the caffeine of a coffee course, but you still want something nice and warm.

A steamer is a great solution to this dilemma. By adding hazelnut syrup to milk and steaming it, you get a sweet, nutty delight. It’s a great way to use your espresso machine with zero caffeine.

Customize your after dinner drink

The natural sweetness of the milk will really stand out, so unless you like extreme sweetness, go light on syrup. A little Frangelico would finish the steamer off perfectly for those so inclined — just use half the syrup that you normally would and add in the liqueur after you steam.


  • 2 ounces milk
  • 1-2 ounces hazelnut syrup (depending on your sweet tooth; use less if adding liqueur)
  • ½ ounce Frangelico (optional)


  1. Fill your frothing pitcher ⅓ full. Add syrup.
  2. Steam and froth milk, increasing volume by one-third — do not overheat.
  3. Texture the milk by gently moving the frothing pitcher in a circular motion and tapping on a kitchen surface until it’s slightly shiny and all large bubbles are gone.
  4. Fill a warmed mug with the textured milk. Top with cinnamon or cocoa.
  5. Optional: Add Frangelico.