Significantly known to raise my endorphin levels and put me in a very happy place, Italian style drinking chocolate is NOT to be confused with hot cocoa. Drinking chocolate is thick as soft pudding and not too sweet. Served in cafe’s and bars throughout Italy as cioccolata calda (hot chocolate), it is frothy yet dense with a deep chocolate flavor. Often served con panna, with whipped cream, it is meant to be sipped and savored.
You can make Italian style drinking chocolate on the stove top by slowly stirring the chocolate into the measured amount of milk or you can invest in a European style Hot Chocolate maker. There are several models on the market from cafe quality machines that cost over a thousand dollars to the $99.00 Bialetti brand, best known for the iconic Moka pot (the Italian version of the stove top coffee brewer). In Italy sachets of chocolate powder and milk are blended and therein lies the secret to this iconic drink -the chocolate powder mixture. Eraclea, Slitti and Venchi making some of the best.
The kitchen catwalk has a new model, La Sorrentina; elegant, polished and cool to the touch. Inspired by a fashion icon from the late 1940’s, La Sorrentina is a “premium” reproduction of the classic stove top espresso machine known as The Atomic. Originally designed in 1947 by Giordano Robbiati, The Atomic literally was “the bomb” of its time. Ultra-modern, ergonomic, sculptural with an aluminum body that was totally state-of-the-art. A product of the atomic age (1945-1960), The Atomic took the science of the Italian caffettiera and made it sexy.
Although kitchen fashionistas tout La Sorrentina’s haute design and ability to operate under a higher pressure than most moka pots an improvement to your brew. The 75 year-old doyenne of Italian caffettiere, Bialetti’s Moka is still used by millions of people around the world. Her bars may be lower (according to the Italian Espresso National Institute and the Specialty Coffee Association of America, an espresso must be made using a precise extraction pressure of 9 bar; a Moka pot achieves 1.5 bar) but the crema of this little macchinetta del caffè is still respectable. Ageing gracefully.
There is no documented evidence to suggest that James Bond had a pen like I’m going to describe. But I would venture a guess that if he could he would. As he was found of gadgets, this pen may have caught his eye. It is a pen created by Italian designer Guiliano Mazzuoli, inspired by the famous Bialetti cast aluminum stove top espresso pot. The upper portion of the pen resembles the Moka pots of Mazzuoli’s youth still used in Italian kitchen’s today.
The pen is beautiful, a work of art and a statement of Italian design but with a price tag in excess of $250 you would need the resources of Her Majesty’s Secret Service to afford it.