Monday, February 04, 2008

Death by chocolate contest

There is a very exciting contest going on, organized by Culinate, and called 'Death by chocolate'. The winner wins a chocolatey trip to Napa Valley for two, to attend the Copia Center’s annual Death by Chocolate Festival, and if no travel money is required, also a dinner for two at the famous 'French Laundry' restaurant. So, how could I not participate? Especially because I have an entry which cannot be beaten:

Cioccolata calda alla Torinese / Hot chocolate Torinese style
Dear readers, this is not your common 'hot chocolate'. This is melted heaven. Every time I have a foreign guest in my home town, Torino, I bring them to one of the few real places where they can taste it, and enjoy their expression when they first take a spoonful of it. No one can know what hot chocolate Torinese style is, unless they have tried it. Torino is well-known for chocolate: the famous 'Gianduiotti' come from there..
(picture taken at 'Baratti e Milano', a very famous cafe in Piazza Castello, one of the most beautiful squares in Torino)
.. and there are many small chocolate factories born there in the XIX century. Hot chocolate is a specialty that every Torinese person drinks on Sundays, during wintertime, in elegant cafes like 'Fiorio'.
I thought I would never be able to reproduce this type of hot chocolate at home, but I recently found out how to do so. The trick is to use real dark very good chocolate to begin with. So I started with Venezuelan 80% dark chocolate and broke it into pieces (about 1/4 cup). I then added a small piece of butter (about 1 tbsp), and ~ 2 tbsp heavy cream. I put it on the stove, with very low heat, and added sugar while it was melting (maybe about 1/4 cup total). I also added 1 tbsp Nutella, to give the typical hazelnut flavor that Gianduja Torinese chocolate has. Then, I added enough milk to get the drink of the right consistency: liquid, but very dense (check out how the cream is floating on top, in the first picture I posted). It's probably another 1/4 cup, more or less. The chocolate must be served with sweetened whipped cream on a side. The person drinking it is supposed to add it to the chocolate little by little, enjoying it while it's melting.. a pleasure for the taste buds as well as the eyes!
So, what do you think: is this entry worth of winning the best chocolate-centered entry for the 'Death by chocolate' contest? If so, please vote for me!!!!! If I win, I promise that if you stop by the Bay area and you voted for me, you'll be treated with a Hot Chocolate Torinese style at Marta's cafe. :)
When you vote, you too automatically enter the draw, and you can also win the same two tickets for the chocolatey tour of Napa Valley. The deadline is February 8th, so.. hurry up!!!


Simona Carini said...

One day I have to tell you the story of how I discovered that Torino has wonderful chocolate makers. I understand your craving from a real cup of cioccolata calda.

chemcookit said...

Simona, I'm looking forward to hearing that story :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Now that's what I cal a Hot Chocolate! Wonderful!



pink dogwood said...

looks good - just voted for you - hope we win - good luck :)

Unknown said...

Just voted for you--I agree it definitely the best recipe!!! I'll have to try it:)

chemcookit said...

Thank you everybody for voting for me! I'm very honored. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Marta! This looks so good!

Amy J. said...

Oh, wow! I found your blog while searching for something else Italian, but I'm so excited to see this recipe!! I visited Torino and Milano the year before last - LOVED IT - and missed getting REAL Italian hot chocolate while I was there (I'm not counting the stuff we had in the Milano airport from a machine)!

I have a recipe that I found online, which is delicious, but always wondered how authentic it is. I'm so glad to have this recipe to try sometime soon! :)

In Torino I was introduced to gianduiotto.... *sigh* *sob* Reading this post is giving me flashbacks and making me want to go back to Italy!