The last day of the year in Venice was very sunny, all pearl skies, like a hopeful ray of sun and outlook for the year ahead ..
A fine spot to enjoy New Year’s Eve – often sunny – is Serra dei Giardini, the garden hothouse on Viale Garibaldi near the Biennale gardens. It has a little cafe filled with light, where I could sit for hours on end and enjoy the scenery: Exotic plants all around, colorful menus, garden journals, flower books, plant magazines and exquisite drinks, like their wonderful selection of hot chocolate!
The other day we were talking about Caffe Florian, the oldest cafe in the world celebrating its 300th birthday on 29 December. From the beginning, Caffé Florian created unusual combinations of gourmet food and drinks, and they were also first cafe in Europe to offer a special type of cocoa drink: A particularly creamy variant of cioccolata calda, enriched with spices. Called cioccolata densa, the rich and creamy Venetian hot chocolate, it’s still a favorite in the cafes and bars in Venice during winter.
So yes, Venice was famous not only for coffee but also unique chocolate creations, and in particular, chocolate drinks.
Caffé La Serra not only offers the basic type of cioccolata densa flavored with vanilla, but also special drinks like turmeric-flavored hot chocolate and another favorite, cioccolata gianduia, the nougat-flavored chocolate drink.
If you’d like to learn more about the hot chocolate by Caffé Florian, click here to discover their luxurious velvet bags and tins containing some of the finest cocoa powder I’ve ever tasted. I use this cocoa powder to make cioccolata densa, Venetian winter style.
- 2 heaped teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 cup of milk
- cane sugar as needed, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla sugar
- In a pan, heat the cocoa powder with the corn starch, vanilla sugar, cane sugar and 5 tablespoons milk.
- Stir well and add the rest of the milk. Keep stirring and bring to the boil.
- Keep stirring for another 20 seconds until the mixture starts thickening.