Cioccolata Calda (Italian Hot Chocolate)

 When I was 11, my family spent a month living in a friend's small, partly-under-construction villa in Tuscany. We spent our time driving through fields of upturned sunflowers, seeing the sights in nearby towns and cities, and eating every kind of pasta we could find. But my strongest food memory from that trip remains my introduction to cioccolata calda—Italian hot chocolate.

When my mom set it down in front of me in a small, quiet café in the hilltop town of Trequanda, I didn’t know what to make of it. The chocolate was glossy and dark brown and so thick that it looked more like a pudding than a drink. I wasn’t even sure how to drink it and started to ask for a spoon to scoop it up.

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