Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
Cioccolata Calda Rivoire
My first introduction to the densely rich cup of Spanish hot chocolate was at the Caffé Rivoire in Florence’s glorious Piazza della Signoria in my student days. It was an ideal place to spend an hour sipping this extravagant drink while observing the passersby. Traditionally made with melted chocolate bars and milk, in my remake I ditch the inflammatory cocoa butter, dairy, and sugar in favor of flavonoid-rich cacao, dates, and vanilla beans. It is intoxicatingly velvety, delicious, and filling but surprisingly low in fat, high in fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. A beautiful alternative to afternoon tea, or an elegant final act for a dinner or luncheon, cioccolata calda rivoire satisfies like dessert and lifts you up like espresso.
Prep time 5 minutes to make date paste plus 5 minutes
Cook time 5 minutes
8 ounces unsweetened, low-fat plant-based milk (I favor soy myself)
3 tablespoons low-fat, raw organic cacao powder (I like Navitas cacao)
2 to 3 tablespoons date paste from ½ cup pitted dates, or to taste
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla bean powder (I like Native Vanilla’s powder which only contains crushed vanilla seeds) or ½ scraped vanilla bean
¼ teaspoon cornstarch
To make the date paste, cover the pitted dates with water and microwave for 2 minutes to rehydrate them. Alternatively, simmer the dates with just enough water to cover in a small saucepan for 5 minutes. Into a high-speed blender transfer the dates with only enough of its soaking water to blend into a super smooth dense paste.
Remove the date paste from the blender. Add the plant milk, cacao and vanilla seeds, cornstarch, and date paste. Run on high for 1 minute. Taste to correct the level of sweetness, chocolate, and vanilla to your tastes.
Heat in a small saucepan until warm but remove before boiling. The cioccolata should be luscious and dense but still pourable and drinkable. If it overthickens and morphs into pudding upon heating, thin it out with a drizzle of plant milk. Serve in warmed cups.
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