The Italians. Wow. They do gelato. They do pizza. They do pasta. They do some major coffee.
It varies from café to café, but a morning stroll through the just snowy cobblestone streets of Rome will for the most part yield you a slow, steaming hot cup of liquid brownie batter.
Yeah, you read that right. See this picture? See the cup in my hand? We were right in front of the Pantheon. And that’s chocolate, clinging to my cup.
Now, not every café does it like that – some are your average drinkable cocoa, some are nearly as thick as pudding. Most are somewhere in between. Honestly? I loved every sample, every variety. Why? Because they involved a little effort. They took time. There is something about the wait…the anticipation. Thirty seconds of microwaved water and a packet of instant powder pale so sadly in comparison to a cup of homemade hot chocolate, it really isn’t fair to even compare.
Before Seven was born Jon and I spent a few weeks in Italy for Christmas and the New Year, and each morning, we would try a new café. He would have espresso, and I the Cioccolata Calda. We’d mosey through the bustling piazzas, wander into familiar churches, windowshop and people watch. That holiday was one of the best in my memory, because it was so relaxed. Having been to Italy on several occasions, it felt so familiar. There was no rush to see the sites (we’ve seen them), no need to buy the souveniers, no panic to find the right ristorante for lunch. There was no rush…we were home.
Or maybe the thick hot cocoa mellowed my arteries.
This hot cocoa recipe is not as thick as the chocolate in that picture up there, but it is definitely heavier and creamier than the standard American variety. It’s perfect on a windy November night when the windows are rattling and the air is whistling, or a great way to start a sleepy December morning.
It would also be great. right. now.