N. Renee Brown

Part-time Author, Full-time Book Junkie

Italian Drinking Chocolate or Pudding in a Cup

When I went to Italy I saw a man putting Nutella in a cup with warm milk. I tried it and liked it, but I overheard him bemoaning the fact that there was no real Italian Drinking Chocolate (IDC) on hand.
I was thinking that IDC must be just like hot chocolate but with a hazelnut flavoring added…so I went questing for hot chocolate in the middle of August. I was frustrated until I stumbled up on this little packet of stuff called Cioban.
It looks like pudding on the front, and I was a little dubious, but I tried it anyway (Italy made me adventurous).
It did indeed come out thick, as in coat the back of the spoon thick – stick to your mouth thick – OMG I NEED MORE NOW thick. It was delicious – it didn’t have much of a hazelnut flavor but the mouthfeel. OMG the mouthfeel!!!!!!! Like drinking velvet.
So, I snagged a few extra packets from our breakfast nook and tucked them in my luggage.
Fast-forward 2 years – I am long out of Cioban, but I have found it on Amazon. It is incredibly expensive (12 packages for $30!!!!!), but I am longing for it so much I ask my wife to purchase it for me for Christmas.
And she did. (I love her, she is the best.)
And guess what…I sat on that package for nearly a year before opening it, because I KNEW that once I started drinking it I would NOT stop. Once I had a taste of that liquid velvet dream again, I would not stop till they were all gone.
And I wasn’t sure I could ask for them again…remember, expensive?
So I went looking for an IDC recipe, and I found some! Yet, over and over they were for ONE CUP of hot chocolate…now who in their right mind is only going to make one cup? No, this chocolate is an experience! You need to SHARE it, to DISPERSE it, to SPREAD THE JOY that is this chocolate – thus, you need a MIX not a cup! Something you can keep on hand to break out when company comes over and you really want to impress them.

All you need for this recipe is a blender and an air-tight container. You don’t even have to worry if there are lumps, because you are going to melt it anyway! And feel free to switch out the chocolate flavors, if you like dark get some nice dark chocolate (lower % of cocoa makes sweeter IDC, higher % means more bitter but complex flavors) or mix the milk and dark (my favorite) or mix in some white chocolate with either milk or dark to get an interesting mix.

ITALIAN DRINKING CHOCOLATE MIX
4 to 6 – 1.55 oz bars of milk chocolate (depending on your level of chocolate need)
¾ cup unsweetened chocolate powder
½ cup sugar
¼ to ½ cup of cornstarch (depending on the level of thickness you want)

Put the chocolate powder, sugar, and cornstarch in the blender and blend until mixed, then add chunks of chocolate bar until completely powdery (about 2 minutes). Transfer to an air-tight container.
TO MAKE A CUP OF CHOCOLATE
1 cup of milk
3 HEAPING TB of chocolate mix
Wisk together the milk and chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat until well combined. Heat until the mixture thickens and is hot, then pour into a mug and go directly to heaven.
Feel free to riff on this recipe in every way, shape and size!
OPTIONAL MIX ADDITIONS (if you want a whole bunch of a specific flavor):
Add crushed candy canes for peppermint IDC.
Add crushed red hot candies for Cinnamon IDC.
Add expresso powder for mocha IDC.

OPTIONAL CUP ADDITIONS (for one mug of more than amazingness):
Add flavor essence (like orange or coconut or almond) to give yourself a flavor boost (add this while the milk is warming).
Add Irish Cream or any alcohol for ADULT IDC (add this after you’ve heated the milk, but before you drink it)!

Enjoy, and drink up!

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