Cioccolata Calda at Sciascia Caffè

Is this the best hot chocolate in Rome?

November is well underway, and Rome is growing cold. It feels like winter is right around the corner — the sun is setting absurdly early, the holiday decorations are slowly being rolled out, and the Italians have suited up in their long coats. Inspired by the chill in the air, I started to ask all the Romans that I met where I could get a good hot chocolate; and it wasn’t long until someone recommended Sciascia Caffè (Via Fabio Massimo no. 80/a).

Open since 1919, Sciascia Caffè is both a chocolate store and a caffè. They write on their website that over the past century, “Mode e costumi sono cambiate ma l’aroma del caffè sciascia è rimasto lo stesso” — “Fashions and clothing have changed, but the aroma of Sciascia Caffè has stayed the same.” And what an aroma this place has! As soon as you walk in the door, you’re hit with the overwhelming smell of chocolate, and the sense that you’ve happened across something truly great.

To get your hot chocolate, head past the prettily-wrapped candies in the front of the store towards the bar in the inner room. There, order a “cioccolata calda” and watch as the barista goes to a special hot chocolate vat and opens the tap. The barista will then add panna, an Italian version of whipped cream that’s thicker and less sugary than what we’re used to in America, and dust the hot chocolate with cocoa powder and tiny chocolate chips.

This hot chocolate felt magical. It’s rich instead of milky, but not like drinking sludge — it goes down easily. It’s got a great dark chocolate taste, warm and perfect. Italian panna makes it that much better, giving your taste buds a respite from the pure chocolate. I found that they got the portion size just right — the ratio of drink to toppings was perfect— which makes sense, since their cups are custom made. The barista also slipped us some langue du chat cookies to dip in our drinks, which sent this hot chocolate experience over the edge.

Even if you’re only in Rome for a few days, I recommend adding this hot chocolate to your to-do list; it’s easy to hit alongside sightseeing, since Sciascia Caffè is located just a few minutes’ walk from Vatican City. With over a century of experience, Sciascia Caffè has the Roman hot chocolate market cornered. Look no further for your Italian chocolate fix.

Read more musings at Do Not Disturb, Hannah is Eating, or subscribe to get the newsletter delivered to your inbox here.

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