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by Caroline Chirichella - Ahhhh, breakfast in Italy. That lovely time when you wake up, pop out of bed and you’re excited for another day of sight-seeing and delicious food. You get ready and go out for that much needed cappuccino (or Cioccolata Calda). I was in Rome and Florence over this past winter and it was pretty cold, I must say. But as long as you have a good warm coat and lined boots, you should be fine. And, a cup of something nice and warm.

Breakfast in Italy is not at all what you probably think of breakfast. At least, not an American style breakfast. Italians do not eat eggs and bacon or pancakes and waffles; they may have a cornetto (croissant) or a cup of yogurt. Half of the time, they just have a cappuccino. By the way, NEVER have a cappuccino after 12 noon; they will know you are a tourist. Italians consider a cappuccino a morning drink and that’s it!! When we were in Rome, our breakfast was included with the room price and we lucked out. Our hotel served fresh cornettos, fruit and yogurt and cappuccinos made to order that was perfetto! Also, when you go someplace for coffee or a pastry, expect to pay one price if you stand at the counter and drink it, and more if you sit and get table service. 

In Florence however, we went out for breakfast every day. We found a place right off of Piazza della Signoria that had the most amazing Cioccolata Calda! It was rich, creamy and intense. It was like drinking melted chocolate. The coco is so intense over there, that they serve it with a pack of sweetener on the side. Every morning in Florence I had a Cioccolata Calda for breakfast, it was just delicious.

Now that I am back home, I treat myself to an Italian hot chocolate a few times a week. It’s either the perfect way to start a day or the perfect way to top off a chilly New York night. I have created two versions. One classic version made with milk and for those on a low carb diet, one made with almond milk. Forget what you think you know about hot chocolate, this is hot chocolate! Please let me know what you think.


 4 ounces of good quality dark chocolate (70% or higher, I personally prefer 85%)

1 ½ cups of whole milk

1 tbsp. of cream

2 tsp. sugar

2 tbsp. corn starch

Add your milk and cream to a pot over medium heat and let it heat, but not boil. Add the chocolate and sugar and mix until melted and smooth. Add the cornstarch and continue to mix. Stir until everything is smooth and creamy! Pour into mugs and serve with a dollop of homemade whipped cream….


1 cup of cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

 Add the cream and vanilla extract to a small bowl and whisk with an electric beater until it looks like whipped cream.



1 cup of almond milk or coconut milk

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

1 ounce dark chocolate (85% is best for paleo)

1 tsp. chocolate extract

Add you milk to a pot over medium heat and let it heat, not boil. Add the cocoa powder and let it dissolve. Add the dark chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Add the chocolate extract and let heat until creamy. Pour into a mug and a dollop of whipped cream.

From Caroline Chirichella


Ciao a tutti! My name is Caroline Chirichella, I am the founder of “La Cucina Prima Donna” which is fully dedicated to embracing the Italian lifestyle in every sense of the word. We feature recipes, photos, travels journals, tips on how to market for authentic Italian ingredients, restaurant reviews, interviews with Italian personalities in the food world and beyond (Chef Diego Ortoli of Portofino Cucina in LA, restaurateur Joe Campanale of dell’anima, l’artusi, Anfora and L’Apicio, Gennaro Pecchia of Men Who Dine, Chef and owner of Eolo in NYC Melissa Muller Daka and Bob Guccione Jr, founder of Spin Magazine) and so much more.

I am also a trained Opera singer, having performed with The Metropolitan Operas leading tenor, Marcello Giordani, Broadway veteran Lisa Vroman and David Miller of Il Divo, (you can view the press release for one of my concerts here), I've performed with burlesque troupes and worked as a freelance writer (feel free to take a look at some of my pieces for Newsday here and here)
I recently won the Egglands Best “Your Best Recipe Contest” Dessert Category for my Chocolate Hazelnut Espresso Cookies, inspired by a trip to Italy, my recipe for Gluten Free Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes was featured on the website for Shape Magazine, as well as the recipe for my Zucchini Chips,  I have developed recipes for Ariosto Seasonings, my recipe for Pumpkin Gnocchi can be seen in the FreeBooksy Thanksgiving Holiday Cookbook, La Cucina Prima Donna was a Foodista blog of the day and I am currently a finalist in the Tyler Florence Food and Wine Experience Contest for my Ragu Bolognese, as well as a finalist in the Staten Island Advance Cookbook Contest 2013. Some of my recipes are published in "The Organic Gardener's Cookbook, Easy Tips and Recipes for Your Home-Grown Vegetables" and La Cucina Prima Donna was listed on Italian Reflections as one of the Top Italian Food Blogs and Websites to follow in 2013. I also won the Better Recipes "Best Pancake Recipe Ever" Contest and was a special contributor for The Daily Meal with my Nutella Ricotta Zeppoles for St. Joseph’s Day.
After spending my summer in Italy studing opera, I became even more in touch with my Italian routes. My love for all things Italian inspired me to start La Cucina Prima Donna.
I have loved food for as long as I can remember. It has always been a special part of my life. Some of my best memories involve food. My grandma hard at work in the kitchen making Sunday gravy, Easter pie and my personal favorite, fried cauliflower. My mother preparing a Christmas Eve feast for our friends. When I was little I loved to bake. Now, I love to eat and I love to cook. It’s meditation. And when the food turns out well, it’s even more rewarding. Let’s face it, in life, nothing is certain. Most things are inconsistent, jobs and boyfriends may come and go. Things can let you down. But food will always be there for you. After a rough day it’s easy to come home to a nice tray of baked ziti. Food makes you feel good. Simple as that. And for me, it’s Italian food. Milky fresh mozzarella, al dente penne, tender meatballs and crunchy cannolis. There’s just something about Italian food that makes me feel the way no other food makes me feel. It’s a very special feeling, so come and join me for supper and experience that same feeling. Be Italian.