With its rustic stone buildings, hardly any traffic and a backdrop of granite mountains, walking around the pretty Sardinian village of San Pantaleo, is like stepping back in time and it was here that I made a very important discovery.
It was coming to the end of another hot day and before we headed off to find our next hotel, we decided to have a quick coffee. I walked into a bar and ordered two shakaratas – Italian coffee with ice, shaken like a cocktail – the perfect caffeine fix in hot weather.
Sitting down at an outside table, we waited for our drinks while enjoying the warmth of the sunshine. Now shakaratas are normally served in a glass so I was very surprised to see our drinks arrived in a cup and saucer. This wasn’t cold coffee it was hot and looked more like chocolate. It was then that I took my first ever sip of ciccolata calda which can only be described as heaven in a cup! The thickest, creamiest hot chocolate drink you’ll ever find. It’s so thick you can stand a spoon in it! Next to this, all other hot chocolates fade into insignificance (even the Belgium hot chocolate, though delicious, could not compete). While a late afternoon in September is still very warm to me, to Sardinians it’s a little chilly, I’m told, so in my terrible accent shakarata was heard as ciccolata and I have never been so glad to have been misunderstood!
Ciccolata Calda, the best hot chocolate in the world!
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate 70% or higher
- 375ml whole milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- Break the chocolate into pieces, heat with a splash of milk over a low heat and stir until melted.
- Slowly add the remaining milk, while stirring so that it is thoroughly mixed.
- Whisk in cornstarch.
- Continue heating while stirring until it has thickened up so that it coats to back of the spoon.
San Pantaleo was the prettiest village I saw in Sardinia. Dating back to 800AD, it is well worth a visit. As well as a few cafes and restaurants, there’s a couple of shops, one or two hotels and a pretty little church. Every Thursday there is a wonderful market in the village square in front of the church.
The inhabitants are particularly proud of their roots and keenly protect their traditions. In the area, expert artisans carry on the ancient arts of ceramics, wood and iron, exporting their products all over the world. A few contemporary Sardinian artists and designers have also been attracted here, adding an interesting modern twist to this lovely Sardinian village. And of course, don’t forget, you can get (possibly) the best hot chocolate in the world here or do you disagree?
Disclaimer: I was travelling in Sardinia while working for Sardinian Places. As always these are my own, honest opinions.