Expat Delight: Hot Italian Decadence

by Miss Footloose

Lots of bare bottoms everywhere. Sometimes the back is more interesting than the front

There’s a lot of wonderful decadence in Italy, from bare-bottom statues to scrumptious food. If you were hoping for a tale about hot Italian decadence of a carnal variety, you’ll be disappointed, but if you are a chocoholic, good. This one is for you.

Although I’ve been to Italy half a dozen times or so (and once had a near death experience in Rome), 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’s not related to what in the US or my native Holland you might call “hot chocolate” or “warme chocolademelk,” so read on:

One cool February afternoon in Rome (a few of years ago) I spooned empty this mug while sitting with my American prince 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.)

Italian Hot Chocolate

Cioccolata calda: I don’t need dinner now

I said spooned, because it is too thick to drink. It was fabulous, it was yummie delicious, it was out of this world, it was a revelation.

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 DO NOT try this with some cheap stuff.

Italian hot chocolate

Heaven in a cup: My own cioccolata calda, in my Italian cappuccino cup.

As I write this, I am not in Italy, but in the South of France. It’s February, again, and I feel a hankering for this lovely concoction. Would be fabulous to have it in Italy, sharing with our friends there (you know who you are 😉 but my French kitchen will have to do. So here’s the recipe:


1 ½ cups (3.5 dl) whole milk (or part heavy cream for extra super decadence)
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, maizena)

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!

* * *

What kind of decadent food do you enjoy?

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If you ever stray to Poland, and happen to be in Lodz, make your way to Manufaktura (a huge leisure/shopping/food) centre and go to Wedel’s Restaurant. They do all things chocolate, including such a thick hot chocolate that you need a spoon to eat 🙂 https://www.wedelpijalnie.pl/pl/propozycje-z-karty-menu#57

Chocolate is my main form of decadence these days and I love it! I was thoroughly impressed on my visit to Italy last winter because the cafes had about 10 different types of hot chocolate available. Now that is impressive. But I didn’t know how they made them so thick until now so thanks for the recipe.

i savored it on a ski trip in italy. Definitely decadent and soo good..

I thought you’d stopped blogging, but apparently the problem was that my feed reader decided not to show you! So glad you are still around! Now I’m off to (hopefully) fix my feed reader and catch up on your adventures.

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