Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cioccolata Calda (Hot Chocolate)

This weekend "Foodies" crossed the border to Italy in search of "cioccolata calda" (pronounced cho-ko-LAH-tah KAHL-dah), the Italian pudding like version of hot chocolate. We had been sledding all day in the Alps de Haute Provence, which are France's most southern Alps, bordering Italy. After a fifteen minute drive, we stopped in the first Italian village we came upon. There was a small grocery store, a few houses, a café and a ton of snow! Without much choice, we went to the café and discovered a crowd of families, couples and children all ordering cioccolata caldas. After a short wait for a table, we ordered cioccolata caldas with homemade whipped cream and an assortment of Italian cookies. Taking a bite of each different cookie made with apricot jam, almond macaroon, sandy textures, flaky pastry and powdered sugar, we decided we were in foodie heaven. The hot chocolate arrived with a spoon. A warm chocolate pudding topped with sweet whipped cream and consumed with a spoon. Cioccolata calda is a meal in itself and so worth crossing the border for!

Cioccolata Calda (Hot Chocolate)
serves 1

1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup milk
1 3/4 oz. or 50 g. 70% dark chocolate
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of cinnamon

In a small saucepan,
melt chocolate with a bit of milk on low heat. Add cornstarch and sugar, mix well. Add milk and cook on low-medium heat until the chocolate thickens (it should take about 20-30 mins). Keep stirring constantly to avoid the chocolate from sticking to the saucepan. When the chocolate is ready, serve it in a cup with a pinch of cinnamon and whipped cream.

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