A weekly indulgence…

Cioccolata Calda (chi-o-co-la-ta call-da) is vaguely comparable to the drinking chocolate served with churros in Spain or, the rich indulgences in Switzerland. Unlike anything I have ever had before, this of thick, creamy, liquid velvet is absolutely intoxicating!

Lucky for us, Caffè Converso, famous for their Cioccolata Calda con Panna (with whip), is just at the end of the block. This tiny 110-year-old pasticcieria is referred to as the “living room” of Bra (population: 30,000), and the classically furnished bar also offers a selection of local confections like Christmas Panettoni and a seasonal Salcsiccia di Bra.  Comprised of milk, sugar chocolate, and a thickening agent (generally flour or cornstarch), this treat is so dense you “drink” it with a small spoon.

From the sounds of it, coffee and chocolate hit Europe the early 1500’s, and Venice kicked off the craze, which quickly spread throughout Italy. A few of us had the opportunity to taste another variation last weekend in Torino at Café Bicerin, where their local treat blends espresso, chocolate and whole milk (often whipped) for a variation that adds caffeine to the sugar rush.

Cioccolata Calda {Hot Chocolate}

         Adapted from dinnerinvenice.com


  • 4 oz bitterweet/dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa)
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch


1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or heavy saucepan.

2. Slowly add the milk, sugar, salt and cornstarch to the chocolate stirring continuously.

3. Discard the pan of water (if using double boiler) and place the saucepan with the chocolate on the flame; on low heat, bring to a boil and simmer until it has thickened to pudding-like consistency.

Top with whipped cream and Buon Appetito!

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