Warm up with this historical spin on hot chocolate. This very unusual, rich, layered drink of chocolate, coffee and cream connects us with specialty of Turin, Italy, memories of the earlier days of women drinking chocolate at the time of Mass. A specialty of Turin, Italy, bicerin is still served at a café managed or owned by women since about 1763. Since it is hard to find in the States, here is the recipe: 


¾ cup whole milk or cream

3 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped or shaved

1 cup espresso or very strong coffee

Lightly sweetened whipped cream, flavored with vanilla or cinnamon or both, to taste

Instructions: Warm the milk or cream slowly over low heat in a double boiler, stirring frequently, until steaming; be careful not to scorch it. Add the chopped chocolate to the steaming milk. Stir slowly over low heat, not allowing the mixture to boil. Remove from the heat. Pour ¼ cup of the warm chocolate into each of four heatproof glasses. Using the bottom of a tablespoon held against the side of the glass to create a separate layer, pour ¼  cup of espresso into each glass. Again using a tablespoon, pour an equal layer of whipped cream over the top of each drink. The cream should be hand-whipped to a consistency just thick enough to float on top of the drink.

Quantity: 4 servings