The Best in Rome
Pretty posters outside many Roman cafés offer delicious “old fashioned” hot chocolate of varying flavors served in old-style cups with matching designs. Please don’t let the advertising fool you. True, old-fashioned, mouth-watering hot chocolate does not come packaged in a busta, sachet or sealed envelope. Nor does “original” hot chocolate come in more than fifty different flavors. Real Italian hot chocolate is sometimes the barista’s own mix of cocoa and sugar, with either milk or cream, heated according to your preference. And in truly old-fashioned cafes and pasticcerie, the chocolate is melted and mixed in a samovar, often brass, to keep the heat consistent. As for flavors, there are only two: Chocolate and Very Chocolate.
With these simple guidelines in mind, it’s no trouble at all to find a delicious, genuine cioccolata calda in Rome. Roman hot chocolate has little in common with the stuff you may remember your mom mixing up. It’s rich and creamy, like melted candy. The top cafes are listed here. Keep in mind that the chocolate “season” is November through mid-April.
A half-step below Pellacchia (above). The chocolate is not quite as rich and the biscotti aren’t as good or as useful.
Via Albalonga, 9 (Piazzale Re di Roma)
The chocolate is good, but not truly rich. The whipped cream is served on the side. In one of Rome's prettiest piazzas, adjacent to the shopping area near the Spanish Steps.
Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina 29 (Trident)
The hot chocolate is excellent, but even more notable is the hybrid caffé/ciocolato: monachella, with panna. In a pretty piazza between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, in the heart of Rome's historic center.
Piazza Sant'Eustachio 82 (Pantheon)
Beautiful location. The barista responsible for the cioccolato was replaced recently, so you may have to ask the new guy to make it properly. Nice presentation and good assortment of biscotti. In Rome's upscale residential neighborhood, a beautiful, leafy piazza with a great view.
Piazza delle Muse (Parioli)
When You Need A Simple Fix:
Bar San Calisto
Sometimes the chocolate can be a bit on the watery side, but the ample whipped cream is enough to keep us coming back. And the price is right: only €1,50 if you stand at the bar. In a funky Rome piazza just off Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere.
Piazza San Calisto (Trastevere)
When You Need a Serious Chocolate Fix:
If you can handle chocolate so dark and dense it sticks to your teeth and makes you beg for a glass of water:
For the purist, Cioccolati offers various ratios of chocolate versus boiling water. In a residential Rome neighborhood not far from the Vatican.
Via Marianna Dionigi, 36 (Prati)
For the daring, Chocolat offers spicy flavors like ginger, cinnamon and pepperoncino. The shop takes its name (and passion) from the Lasse Hallstrøm film starring Juliet Binoche and Johnny Depp film, Chocolat. Note the brass samovar where the chocolate is heated, melted and constantly churned.
Via della Dogana Vecchia, 12, 13 (Pantheon)
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In Rome Now Travel Guide: Italian Hot Chocolate