Please welcome the lovely Karen Van Der Zee!
There is lots of wonderful decadence in Italy, from bare-bottom statues to scrumptious food. If you were hoping for a tale about hot decadence of a carnal variety, you’ll be disappointed, but if you are a foodie and a chocoholic, good. This one is for you.
Although I’ve been to Italy half a dozen times or so, I’d never been there during the winter months and so never came across the cioccolata calda, hot chocolate, which is pure, well, decadence. It is not related to what in the US or my native Holland you might call “hot chocolate,” so read on:
One cool February afternoon in Rome (a couple of years ago) I spooned empty this mug while sitting on a little terrace warmed by gas heaters in Via della Carozze near the Spanish Steps. I thought I had died and gone to chocolate heaven. (Fortunately dinner wasn’t until 9, Italian style.)
I said spooned, because it is too thick to drink. It was fabulous, it was yummie delicious, it was out of this world.
And yes, I have a recipe! It works beautifully and tastes just the way I had it in Rome. I use 72 – 75% dark chocolate. The better the chocolate the better the hot chocolate will be (imagine that), so don’t try this with some cheap stuff.
As I write this, I am not in Italy, I am in the South of France. It is January. Hard as this may be to believe, it is cold and the wind is howling around the house. Not any kind of wind, mind you, but a really, really nasty wind that goes by the name of Tramontane, and it offers up air straight from the North Pole and if you don’t believe it, click on the link and all will be revealed to you. Clearly, on a day like this, what would be better than a cup of Italian cioccolata calda? So here’s the recipe:
ITALIAN CIOCCOLATA CALDA
1 ½ cups (3.5 dl) whole milk (or part heavy cream)
2 Tbsp (30 g) sugar
3.5 oz (100 g) good quality dark chocolate, 70% or higher, broken into pieces
2 tsp (10 ml) cornstarch (cornflour)
Take about 4 Tablespoons of the milk and set it aside. In a medium saucepan, over low heat, slowly heat the rest of the milk and the sugar.
When the sugar is dissolved and the milk is hot, but not boiling, add the chopped chocolate and stir until it is melted.
Mix the cornstarch with the reserved milk and add it to the chocolate mixture in the pan. Stir until the mixture thickens.
Pour into mugs or cups and serve immediately.
This makes 2 large or 4 small servings.
You can serve whipped cream (the real deal!) on the side or on top for added decadence. Also nice is a sprinkling of cinnamon.
This is a basic recipe and from here you can get creative by adding some coffee liqueur, or any other liqueur, some vanilla flavoring, etc
I’ve seen cioccolata calda served in very small cups, and even thicker than this recipe, but I’ve not tasted or tried that version.
The original recipe came from bell’alimento.
Now go try this and tell me how you like it!