If you have ever been on holiday in Italy during winter time, you must have come across one of the most scrumptious hot drinks we have: dark, dense, creamy and extremely comforting, Italian style hot chocolate is a must during these long and cold winter afternoons.

It can be bought in sachets, ready to prepare, just-pour-the- milk formula, but they are laden with additives and they are usually quite expensive for what they are, and also not very practical to get, because one has to go to an Italian delicatessen to buy them. However it is very easy and quick to make it at home, with just a few ingredients that we all have in our cupboards.

Try to make it this weekend: I am sure that it will quickly become a family favourite.

Ingredients for a cup:

  • 3 tsp of cacao powder
  • 3 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of potato starch
  • 150ml milk


1. Mix all the dry ingredients and pass them through a fine sieve to eliminate lumps. Put them in a small saucepan. Add a little milk, and stir well, with a wooden spoon, to make a thick paste. Add the rest of the milk little by little, making sure to stir well to get the milk absorbed before adding more.

2. Put the saucepan on medium heat. Stirring continuously, bring the milk to the boil. Lower the heat and let it bubble for a minute, stirring vigorously. Serve it in small tea cups (not mugs). You can drink it plain ( it’s delicious as it is), or it can be flavoured with a little cinnamon, or you can pour some whipped cream on top for the ultimate decadent experience, or –my personal favourite- you can crush a couple of amaretto biscuits into powder and sprinkle them on top.

Note: For best results use plain, good for baking, cacao powder: avoid Nesquick and other instant powders.

I find that potato starch is the best thickener for the hot chocolate, because it’s very light and doesn't leave after taste: however plain flour or corn starch can be used.

Check out more of Silvana's Italian receipes .