Recipe: Cioccolata Calda (Italian Hot Chocolate)

Italian Hot Chocolate, hot chocolate recipe
It has been particularly cold in these last days of February. Rome even got a dusting of powdered sugar last night and the city woke up to a snow covered Colosseum. So what is the best way to enjoy these cold, cozy days?  With a cup of hot chocolate of course! ITALIAN hot chocolate that is. Italian hot chocolate is more like a dessert all by itself. It is has a thicker consistency than its American cousin and is more like drinking chocolate ganache than warmed up chocolate milk.

There is a boxed hot chocolate available in Italy, and it is called Ciobar. It kind of gets a bad rap here as something processed and disgusting, but having a look at the ingredients, they look similar to my recipe. Here they are:

Chocolate Cocoa Powder (74.6%) [Sugar, Cocoa (25%)], Modified Starch, Cocoa, Salt, Flavorings. 

Now, I am not sure what “flavorings” are. But still, the majority of the mixture is cocoa powder and sugar.

The difference between hot chocolate in the United States and Italy is the dense consistency. As you can see, there is starch in the Ciobar product. Now let’s have look at the ingredients in Nestle’s Nesquick product.

Ingredients: sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, soy lecithin, carrageenan, salt, natural flavor, spice. vitamins and minerals: sodium ascorbate (vitamin c), ferric pyrophosphate (iron), niacinamide, zinc oxide, thiamin hydrochloride, copper gluconate, manganese sulfate, biotin.

It seems they add a bunch of vitamins and minerals to try to make this sugary drink look healthy. But if you look at the daily percentage amounts of these vitamins, they are all 10%. I guess that is ok, and my drink is sugary too, but wouldn’t it be better just to make your hot chocolate the old-fashioned and very easy way by just mixing up some cocoa, sugar and milk without the added “flavorings” and things like “Alkali and Carrageenan?”

So, here is my recipe sans Carrageenan.  🙂

Italian Hot Chocolate, hot chocolate recipe


4 tablespoons non-sweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2-4 tablespoons sugar (depends on the degree of your sweet tooth)
2.5 cups whole milk
8 ounces chopped chocolate (bittersweet, milk or a combo, again depends on taste)

yields 4 cups


1. Mix the cocoa, cornstarch and sugar in a bowl and set aside.

2. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat to just below the simmering point.

3. When the milk is hot, add the cocoa mixture to the milk using a small sifter and stirring with a whisk. Using the sifter and whisk are important to avoid the formation of lumps.

4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the chopped chocolate whisking vigorously until all the chocolate has melted. Return to low heat if necessary, making sure to stir constantly so as not to burn the mixture. Serve immediately.

Wasn’t that easy?!?!  Enjoy!


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18 Comments on “Recipe: Cioccolata Calda (Italian Hot Chocolate)

    • Oh….never thought of that! To be honest, you might be able to omit the sugar all together depending on your taste. It is pretty sweet on its own. Met me know if you try it though…..Have a great weekend…..

  1. Pingback: Hot Spots for Hot Chocolate in Milan | Italy Translated

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