I don’t like hot chocolate.
It tastes like milky, jazzy Milo, and I have no time for it.
Well. Except if it comes from one of these four places …
- Scopa in Wellington, New Zealand
- Angelina at the Palace of Versailles, Paris (flash)
- Bernie’s on Oriental Bay, Wellington
- Amorino in the Place du Capitole, Toulouse (side note: I just went full Veronica Mars to find the name of this cafe, starting from the below photo and ending up on Google Map street view. Like, I’m not saying I’m in the CIA, but I’m definitely not saying that I’m not).
The one thing these four hot chocolates have in common: They’re Italian.
My ancestors travelled to New Zealand by boat and set up shop in Sunny Nelson, where they did the most Italian thing possible:
They grew tomatoes.
It sounds strange, but until today, I’ve never really thought of myself as Italian. I was just Kate the half-Brit Kiwi who loves deadpan lols and The Crown.
It wasn’t until I started a bloody blog post about hot chocolate that it hit me. I’m Italian.
So of course, I did what every Millennial on the brink of an identity crisis would do, and I Googled:
And the really weird thing is, they’re kind of like me.
Passionate, dramatic, food obsessed, warm, style conscious (this is starting to sound like a Tinder profile), chatty, loud, beauty seekers, coffee drinkers, religious, hand-talkers, family centred, work-life balance believers, artistic …
Honestly. Even the the natural but polished way I (try to) do my hair and makeup is archetypally Italian.
And kind of wonderful.
I love the idea that there are cultural strands that connect us. That without even knowing it, there’s an echo in your blood that ties you to another people and place.
It’s very cool, and quite frankly, makes me want to go back and carb load my way through my ancestral homeland.
But back to the hot chocolate …
I don’t wanna oversell it, but this recipe will probably change your life.
It’s basically drinkable chocolate self-saucing pudding.
Cioccolata Calda (Italian Hot Chocolate)
I found this recipe on Pinterest (but of course), and it’s from the food blog, My Sequinned Life. I won’t retype it because she has all the instructions there.
You basically just need cocoa, milk, sugar, cornflower, vanilla essence, a pot and whisk.
Easy peasy, limoncello squeezy.
Kate Rates: Italian Hot Chocolate
Despite being the world’s biggest fan of drinking hot mousse, I’d never made Italian ho-cho before – hence its appearance at #3 on my Thirty Before Thirty list.
And can I just say. Game-changer.
I’m definitely going to have to limit how many times I’m allowed to make it in a week if I still want to be able to enjoy fitting through doors.
But also … la vita è bella (life is beautiful), and it should be enjoyed accordingly.
10/10 – would recommend. Both for taste, and the delicious “OH-MY-GOSH, this is my culture! These are my people!” revelation that came along with it.
Have you ever had a cultural watershed moment like this? (Hot chocolate doesn’t have to have been involved … but I guarantee it would have helped).