If you enjoy a rich hot chocolate, then you are going to LOVE this Italian hot chocolate recipe. This Italian hot chocolate recipe is so divine and different from any other hot chocolate you have ever enjoyed before. The texture is thick and creamy like pure chocolate melted into a cup. Then the flavor is oh so rich and delicious.
Italian hot chocolate is perfect to enjoy on a rainy day, bundled up near a fire or when snowflakes are in the air. The rich Italian hot chocolate will surely warm you up and make you feel happy inside. With that said, you can even enjoy this luscious hot beverage on a summer day because it is that delicious and hey…. “when in Rome”.
Enjoying Italian Hot Chocolate in Italy
You can find Italian hot chocolate in most bars, pastry shops, and even gelato shops throughout Italy. Moreover, you can also enjoy Italian hot chocolate year-round. Whether it is a hot or cold day, this beverage is not about warming your body up but about tasting the pure liquid gold that is called, chocolate!
As chocolate lovers, my Italian-American family and I would savor on our Italian hot chocolate in the middle of a summer day. One of my favorite memories was enjoying a cup of hot chocolate in Ravenna at this beautiful patisserie. Then we went to a local grocery store and my cousin purchased a half a dozen boxes of Italian hot chocolate.
Then when Adam and I continued to explore Italy on our own, we stayed in Brescia with local hosts. We enjoyed Italian hot chocolate with them during a rainy day on Lake Idro. When they learned how much we loved Italian hot chocolate, they taught us exactly how to make it at home.
Hence, my inspiration for this Italian hot chocolate recipe. Now my cousin and chocolate-loving audience can enjoy making Italian hot chocolate in the comfort of their home to enjoy year-round!
What is Italian Hot Chocolate?
Italian hot chocolate is a thick, creamy, and of course chocolatey beverage. Since the texture is close to a pudding consistency, the hot chocolate is typically served with a spoon. Which is also why Italian hot chocolate is served in a small mug – bigger than an espresso cup and smaller than a cappuccino.
So what makes Italian hot chocolate so thick and taste like a pure chocolate liquid? The ingredients and process. Traditionally, Italian hot chocolate is made with milk, sugar, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and cornstarch.
Most times, you can order Italian hot chocolate plain and pure or with a dollop of whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Moreover, you can enjoy and order this beloved beverage year-round just as the locals do.
What Is the Difference Between American and Italian Hot Chocolate?
You still might be thinking… what is the big deal? It is just hot chocolate. On the contrary. When you try Italian hot chocolate and compare it to American hot chocolate, you will see and taste the difference immediately.
American hot chocolate tends to be less dense with a more milk-like liquid viscosity. It is also less rich in chocolate flavor. Whereas Italian hot chocolate is very rich – as if you were to melt a chocolate bar in a mug and then drink it. It is also thick and creamier which requires a spoon to enjoy.
Italian Hot Chocolate Ingredients
Just like my Torta Tenerina (flourless chocolate cake) recipe, this Italian hot chocolate is all about the quality of chocolate. The higher quality of chocolate you use, the better your Italian hot chocolate will taste. My “go to” for chocolate that is easy to obtain and use at the house is Ghirdalhi. However, any speciality chocolate bar is my favorite type to use.
- Whole milk
- Dark chocolate (70% or higher)
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Whipped cream (if desired)
How to Make the Best Italian Hot Chocolate
Making Italian hot chocolate is very quick and easy. First, you want to measure out all of your ingredients to make the process efficient. You do not want to burn your milk because you did not have your ingredients ready.
In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of whole milk with the cornstarch to create a slurry. Set aside.
In a medium pot, mix together the rest of the whole milk and sugar. Bring this to a soft boil at medium-low heat. Do not over boil! In fact, once you see the milk start to boil, you can turn the heat lower or completely off.
Pour the cornstarch slurry into the boiling milk and stir together. Then pour the unsweetened cocoa powder and dark chocolate into the mixture. Whisk the ingredients together on medium to low heat. Continue to whisk the Italian hot chocolate for about 5 minutes to prevent the bottom of the pot from burning.
While you whisk the Italian hot chocolate, you will begin to notice the mixture thickening. You know it is ready when you can coat the back of a spoon with hot chocolate. Turn off the heat and remove the pot immediately to stop the cooking process.
Pour the Italian hot chocolate into your desired mugs. Top it off with a dollop of whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Then serve and enjoy with a spoon!
Tips and Tidbits
If you cooked your Italian hot chocolate for too long and it is too thick, whisk in a tablespoon of milk to help thin in out.
Make sure you cook the Italian hot chocolate on medium low heat for at least 3 to 5 minutes to ensure you cook out the starchiness. Otherwise, the hot chocolate will get thick too quick if you cook on a high heat and your beverage could taste more starchy than chocolatey.
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 130g (4.5 oz.) dark chocolate
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- Whipped cream (if desired)
- Chocolate shavings (for decoration if desired)
- In a small bowl, make a cornstarch slurry by adding a 1/4 cup of milk with the cornstarch. Mix together until it is smooth and set aside.
- In a medium saucepot, turn heat to medium-low and add the remaining 1 1/4 cup milk and sugar. Mix the ingredients together until combined. When the milk comes to a soft boil, turn the heat down or completely off.
- While whisking the milk, pour the cornstarch slurry into the saucepot. Then add the unsweetened cocoa powder and dark chocolate.
- Whisk the hot chocolate on low heat for about 5 minutes until it becomes thick and creamy. You will know when it is ready if the hot chocolate can coat the back of the spoon. As soon as it is thick, turn the heat off and remove the saucepot from the heat immediately.
- Pour the Italian hot chocolate into a mug, serve with a dollop of whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and enjoy!
If the Italian hot chocolate is too thick, whisk in more milk at the end to thin it out.
Make sure you do not over boil the milk and continue to whisk all the ingredients together to prevent the bottom of the pot from burning.
You can even add ground cinnamon for a spice of flavor if desired.