“I’m not a chef, I’m Italian”- David Rocco

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cioccolata Calda- Italian Hot Chocolate

Buongiorno!! Ahhhh, breakfast in Italy. That lovely time when you wake up, pop out of bed and you’re excited for another day of sight-seeing and delicious eat. You get ready and go out for that much need cappuccino (or Cioccolata Calda). I was in Rome and Florence over this past winter and it was pretty cold, I must say. But as long as you have a good warm coat and lined boots, you should be fine. And of yeah, a cup of something nice and warm.


Breakfast in Italy is not at all what you have probably come to think of breakfast. At least, not an American style breakfast. Italians do not eat eggs and bacon or pancakes and waffles; they make have a cornetto or a cup of yogurt. Half of the time, they just have a cappuccino. (By the way, NEVER have a cappuccino after 12 noon; they will know you are a tourist). Italians consider a cappuccino a morning drink and that’s it!! When we were in Rome, our breakfast was included with the room price and we lucked out. Our hotel served fresh cornettos, fruit and yogurt and cappuccinos made to order that were perfecto!!


In Florence however, we went out for breakfast every day. In Italy also, when you go someplace for coffee or a pastry, expect to pay one price if you stand at the counter and drink it and more if you sit and get table service. We found a place right off of Piazza della Signoria that had the most amazing Cioccolata Calda!! It was rich, creamy and intense. It was like drinking melted chocolate. The coco is so intense over there, that they serve it with a pack of sweetener on the side, that you can choose to use or not use. Every morning in Florence I had a Cioccolata Calda for breakfast, it was just delicious.


Now that I am back home, I treat myself to an Italian hot chocolate a few times a week. It’s either the perfect way to start a day or the perfect way to top off a chilly New York night. I have created two versions. One classic version made with milk and for those on a low carb diet, one made with almond milk. Forget what you think you know about hot chocolate, this, is hot chocolate! Please let me know what you think. Buon Appetito!!


Traditional Cioccolata Calda with Cream


4 ounces of good quality dark chocolate (70% or higher, I personally prefer 85%)

1 ½ cups of whole milk

1 tbsp. of cream

2 tsp. sugar

2 tbsp. corn starch


Add your milk and cream to a pot over medium heat and let it heat, but not boil. Add the chocolate and sugar and mix until melted and smooth. Add the cornstarch and continue to mix. Stir until everything is smooth and creamy!! Pour into mugs and serve with a dollop of homemade whipped cream….


Whipped Cream


1 cup of cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract


Add the cream and vanilla extract to a small bowl and whisk with an electric beater until it looks like whipped cream.


Paleo Cioccolata Calda


1 cup of almond milk or coconut milk

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

1 ounce dark chocolate (85% is best for paleo)

1 tsp. chocolate extract


Add you milk to a pot over medium heat and let it heat, not boil. Add the cocoa powder and let it dissolve. Add the dark chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Add the chocolate extract and let heat until creamy. Pour into a mug and a dollop of whipped cream. 


  1. Sounds so yummy - both versions! Especially glad to see you've added a Paleo alternative! This Dietitian approves!! : )

    1. Thanks so much Lauren!! I'm glad I have your approval :)

  2. I love Italian hot chocolate, especially the fact that it's so thick you can use a spoon. I made the mistake of ordering a cappuccino after 12 and learned from the waiter's glare that I shouldn't do that ever again!


  3. I saw your link to this on RecipesUS Fb page and had to come and see this recipe. This just sounds completely fantastic and, since I have all the ingredients on hand, I will be making this recipe and giving you a rave review on my blog www.bakedlava.com because I can already tell this is delicious!! I also gave you a follow because I am going to be going through your blog and looking at your recipes!! Thanks for posting this.

    1. Thank you so much!! I'm heading over to your site right now!! And I just liked your facebook page. Looking forward to following each other!! And please let me know how it turns out!!

    2. Oh...I will...I just took inventory and I have some 90% dark chocolate, so I'm making it tonight for dessert!!

  4. Buon Giorno! I will be coming to Florence in May - can you tell me please the name of the cafe off the Piazza del Signoria where you enjoyed the hot chocolate? Grazie mille!

    1. Buongiorno!! Caffetteria Letizia on Via Vacchereccia 3/5/7 R. It's right off Piazza del Signoria. It's a basic little self serve cafe, but the hot chocolate is amazing!! Please write me after you go, I'd love to hear what think!!

  5. Oh my, deliciousness. I could have this for dessert. Perfect for Valentine's Day. Can't wait to try it!

  6. I love this! Such bliss!!! Pinning!

    And Now following via GFC::)

  7. I've had this when I have been travelling in Italy. It's so delicious. I'm so pleased to have the recipe now :)

  8. I am currently studying in Florence as we speak (since January), and I am also currently drinking a hot chocolate from Cafe Rivoire (the amazing place on Piazza Signoria) and I just decided to see if I could find a recipe that I could use at home. And I did! Thank you! I will miss this place so much when I leave in 15 days :(

    1. I got the biggest smile reading your comment!!! You're so lucky to be in Florence and enjoying hot chocolate and yes, I know the feeling of missing it, I think of Italy everyday. I am so glad you found my recipe so you will be able to enjoy it when you leave. And enjoy your 15 days that you have left!! :)