The best Italian drinking chocolate in the world can be found in Amalfi, Italy. Wait, drinking chocolate? Don’t you mean hot chocolate?… Nope.
Drinking chocolate is the rich, decadent and more sophisticated cousin of hot chocolate, and once you try it, you won’t ever go back to regular hot chocolate again. The main difference between the two is hot chocolate comes from a powder and drinking chocolate is made with real melted chocolate making it super thick and rich. It’s so good and so worth the extra few minutes it takes to make.
My Path To Enlightenment
The morning we arrived on one of my most anticipated stops on our Mediterranean cruise— the magical Amalfi Coast, it was drizzly, grey, and cold. Ugh, I thought, definitely not one of the perfect sunny day I’d seen in the postcards and hoped for. Being a cruise, we only had 8 hours to take in the magnificent sights of the Amalfi coastal cities and Pompeii, and rain put a damper on that.
Loc and I grabbed the umbrella and made our way to the gangway to find the tour we had booked. We packed on to a tour boat and made our way up the coast to our stop in the town of Amalfi. Even in the steady drizzle, the coast was gorgeous. Houses and farms perched upon the rocky cliffs and as we puttered along I couldn’t help but daydream what it would be like to live in such a beautiful place.
No Ordinary Hot Chocolate
When we arrived to Amalfi, the gods smiled upon us and the rain started to slow. We made our way through the charming cobblestone streets ducking in and out of the shops selling an abundance of lemon-themed gifts (the region is famous for Sfusato d’Amalfi, a type of lemon that only grows in the area), limoncello, and hand-painted wares.
Feeling tired and famished from the hilly climb through the town, we stumbled upon a sweets-lover’s dream: the famous Pasticceria Andrea Pansa. This place is heaven! The hubby was able to snag a table outside overlooking the main town square (that wasn’t too wet) and we gave the menu a once over. That’s when I spotted a bucket list dessert that I had been wanting to try forever— Italian drinking chocolate! What arrived was the most decadent, thick, delicious hot chocolate I’ve ever had, served with a light, slightly crispy, yet chewy butter cookie dipped in chocolate, perfect for dipping. It was truly a life-changing cup, and I will forever be ruined for plain old hot chocolate.
Now that that we’re in the dead of winter and in the middle of an arctic freeze here in Michigan, I find myself craving that perfect cup of drinking chocolate and Italian butter cookie. Since I won’t be going back to Italy anytime soon, the next best thing was to recreate it. It’s a super simple recipe that will have you dreaming of Italy in no time.
Where to Find It
Although Italian drinking chocolate can be found in cafes and pasticceria throughout Italy (and Europe), the place to experience it is the historic Pasticceria Andrea Pansa. This place dates back to 1830 and has been owned by the same family for 5 generations. It’s situated right next to the steps of the landmark St. Andrew Cathedral in the main square. Look to your right and you can’t miss it. If you can, try to snag an outdoor table and take in the sights of the square and enjoy your drinking chocolate along with a pastry or two (or three). Be sure to take a look inside the beautiful cafe, oogle at the amazing variety of confections tucked inside a huge glass counter, and take home a box of treats for later.
Italian drinking chocolate is the rich, decadent and more sophisticated cousin of hot chocolate, and once you try it, you won’t ever go back to regular hot chocolate again.
1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon raw sugar
16 oz dark chocolate
1 tablespoon corn starch + 2 tablespoons milk
- Mix corn starch with 2 Tbs milk until no lumps remain and set aside.
- In a small sauce pan combine cream, milk, vanilla, and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Lower temperature to medium-low, add chocolate and corn starch mixture and whisk consistently (to avoid burning) until melted, fully combined and silky smooth (about 5 minutes).
- Serve warm topped with whipped cream (if desired).