Recipe: The Ultimate Italian Hot Chocolate


There’s a chill in the air and the holiday season is upon us. Our friend Judy Witts Francini aka Divina Cucina is our go-to-gal for all things dolce and she contributed several holiday dessert recipes to our Christmas in Italy guide (free download). Here’s her version of the ultimate Italian hot chocolate:

One of my favorite chocolate shops in Florence, Vestri, gave us their recipe for the incredible hot chocolate that all Florentines adore. They sell their own blend for 5 euros; that’s enough for a liter of hot chocolate. It’s so thick you don’t know if you want to drink it or eat it! The secret? Real chocolate. What a surprise!

I’ve lightened the recipe a tiny bit. After all, a little goes a long way.

Traditionally, Florentines drink it in a cappuccino cup, half full, and then topped with whipped cream.

5 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder (Hershey’s European Style, Van Hooten, or Droste)
2 tablespoons sugar
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups milk
Chili powder (optional)

Place the cocoa powder, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the milk in a saucepan and heat until the sugar melts, stirring well to remove any lumps. Boil and add the remaining milk. Heat to steaming, always whisking to incorporate the chocolate mixture. Turn off the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Stir to melt the chocolate and let it sit. Reheat to serve, stirring well before serving.

Vestri serves the hot chocolate with a pinch of chili powder, or ginger if you like. You can also be really decadent and have your Vestri’s ice cream, affogato, drowned in hot chocolate!

Photo by jseliger2,