Cioccolata Calda

Cioccolata Calda

There are hot chocolates – and then there’s Cioccolata Calda. Whether you drink it straight from the mug or use a spoon, you really can’t go wrong.


  • 2 cups half & half*

  • 2 tablespoons corn starch (used as a thickening agent, also allows chocolate to be heated to warmer temperature)

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, at least 70 percent bittersweet, shaved into shards

  • Pinch of salt

  • *If half & half is not available, substitute 1 cup milk and 1 cup heavy cream.


  1. Shave chocolate into shards.

  2. Add sugar and cornstarch into a medium bowl and whisk together.

  3. Add 1/2-1 cup of the half & half and whisk together vigorously.

  4. Mix the cornstarch first with sugar, then into the cold half & half. This prevents it from clumping when added to a hot liquid.

  5. Pour remaining half & half into sauce pan, add vanilla seeds, and place over medium heat.

  6. Whisk cornstarch mixture together again briefly, then add to sauce pan.

  7. Cook mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes just up to a boil and thickens, 2-3 minutes.

  8. Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove immediately from heat.

  9. Add chocolate, and a pinch of salt. The salt brings out the chocolate flavor and balances the sweetness.

  10. Stir mixture gently with a wooden spoon to melt the chocolate and incorporate the flavors.

  11. Pour hot water into serving cups, remove, and dry with a clean towel, then pour about 1/2 cup of hot chocolate into each cup.

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