Italian Hot Chocolate and Affogato

Sorry the picture is dark! I forgot my camera so we had to rely on Caroline's Blackberry 🙂

My absolute favorite thing about winter (read: anytime) is curling up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. I love a steaming hot cup of thick, rich hot chocolate–which a lot of people find surprising considering I’m not the biggest chocolate person. That being said, I refuse to make my hot chocolate with anything but milk. None of that gross watery stuff for me, please!

While studying abroad, my friends and I discovered the joys of European hot chocolate. Now, the hot chocolate that we’re used to normally involves some cocoa powder, maybe a little chopped chocolate, and some sugar and salt. Good flavor, but about the consistency of a mocha. European hot chocolate? It’s like molten chocolate lava. No, seriously. The stuff is so thick and rich; it easily coats the back of a spoon. And churros. And pretty much everything else you can get your hands on and dip in there. It’s like fondue, but better. Yeah. I said that.

Anyway, Caroline’s and my favorite place to go for gelato and hot chocolate in Florence was this little shop called Vestri on the Borgo degli Albizi. Their gelato was always fresh and was also incredibly cheap (euro 1,70 for two scoops? I’ll take it!). But the best part about any gelato shop in Italy is the fact that you can get an affogato. What, you ask is an affogato? Well, friends, it’s a scoop of gelato or sorbet, topped with a giant ladle of hot chocolate or, in some cases, espresso. Needless to say, it’s heaven in the cup, and the variety of flavors you get as the gelato slowly melts into the hot chocolate is unbelievable.

Anyway, Caroline and I decided to recreate this treat last week when we made dinner at her house. We added some blackberries and used strawberry sorbet for a berry kick in our affogati. I hope this recipe warms you up as much as it did us! Happy eating!

Vestri’s Hot Chocolate
Yeah, I know. This seems rich. But you only live once! Also, while it may sound strange to add chili powder to your hot chocolate, it tastes delicious. I highly recommend sprinkling just a weeee bit on top!
Recipe from Divina Cucina

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 cups milk
  • Chili powder (optional)

Directions:

  • In a saucepan, heat the cocoa powder, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the milk. Whisk over low heat until the sugar melts.
  • Continue whisking and add in the remaining milk. Bring to a boil and be sure to break up any lumps.
  • Take off heat and add in the chopped chocolate. Whisk until the chocolate has fully melted.
  • Reheat to serve with a light sprinkle of chili powder on top!

Serves 2.

For an Affogato:

  • Place one (or two) scoops of your favorite gelato or sorbet in the bottom of a mug. Top with two ladles-worth of hot chocolate. Serve warm with a spoon!
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