ll Cibo é L'essenza Della Vita....

"The rooms that you use on a daily basis are the rooms people will always want to sit in, because they have soul." --Bunny Williams


"If you want to live forever and ever, drink wine and eat maccheroni." ~~~Sicilian Proverb

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Chocolate Indulgence- Zuppa di Cioccolata

Hello all!

I can't believe it's already Thursday. I know I said we wouldn't be posting tablescapes for a while, but this is for a special friend. So join us at Susan's tablescape party at Between Naps on the Porch- and pamper yourself a bit

Do you remember when you first realized your child was growing up?? Was it one particular moment or did it just sort of creep up on you??
With my boys it seems to have happened when I wasn't looking, but being boys, and goofy ones at that, I still get the occasional glimpse of my babies. Happy sigh here :)

Now with Allie I can pinpoint the day I knew my baby girl was gone. 

I was standing in the kitchen (what else is new?) when she came running in after school one day in tears. She had been involved in some pre-teen drama with one of her best friends at school and the tears flowed. 

Suddenly, she looked up, stopped crying, and said "Mom, I really don't know why, but I REALLY need some chocolate. NOW!"

My husband looked at her in total confusion. 

I told him to run.    Run for the hills.    Come back in about 6 years. 

And bring chocolate.

She is my daughter. From my earliest memories of traveling through Italy, France, Switzerland, and Austria as a child, chocolate was always a constant. My Nonno LOVED good chocolate and I have memories of him gifting me at Easter with gorgeous decorated chocolate eggs as tall as I was. 

Today, when someone in our family is suffering a meltdown, more often than not the chocolate stores are raided.

I have a dear friend who's had a very bad week. Spirits are low and her bruised ego needs a bit of pampering.I had planned this recipe for a post in the future as Allie and I have been working on getting it just right (which requires a LOT of taste-testing). But this is an emergency. 
Julie, this one's for you...

Pampering yourself requires a bit of quiet time. In this house with 6 kids, the only private place is ....

Yes, that is the bathroom.

 Close the door, set out the flowers....

light the candles and bring out your best wine glass....

a few good magazines....


We are offering 2 versions of this soup here. One is a simple, warming chocolate soup topped with a dollop of smooth hazelnut cream- simple and quick for those real chocolate emergencies.
The second is based on an idea by Chef Jacques Torres of Le Cirque 2000 who served a luscious chocolate soup over caramelized bananas topped with a billowy meringue

Be forewarned- this is a rich soup. I usually serve this in espresso cups (especially if I use all heavy cream as I usually do). Tonight I used a larger bowl for a friend who really needs and deserves some chocolate indulgence :)
Zuppa di Cioccolata

Basic Chocolate Soup 

3 cups heavy cream or combination of cream and whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar 
3/4 pound best-quality semi-sweet chocolate , chopped ( I used 1/2 pound Callebaut and a handful of Ghirardelli semi sweet chips)
small pinch cayenne or cinnamon- OPTIONAL 
3 tablespoons Godiva Liqueur, Grand Marnier, Chambord, or 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
Bring cream and sugar to a simmer over medium low heat. Reduce heat to low and whisk in chocolate and cayenne (if using) till melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in liqueur or flavoring
Option 1-          Chocolate Soup with Caramelized Fruit and Meringue

Caramelized Fruit: 
2 large bananas and 2 mangoes, peeled and diced  
1/4 cup dark Godiva Liqueur (or Grand Marnier, Chambord, or a sweet rum)
1/2 cup sugar 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Place the diced fruit in a mixing bowl with the liqueur and stir. Set aside to macerate at room temperature while you melt the sugar.
Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. When it is warm sprinkle the sugar into the pan.Spread the sugar in an even layer and watch carefully till you see it  begin to melt. Start moving the pan over the burner to keep the sugar from burning. Tilt the pan from side to side so that the melted sugar runs over the unmelted sugar. When all the sugar is melted and golden brown,  add the butter. Add the fruit and liquid and spread evenly in the pan. Be cautious as alcohol has a tendency to flame sometimes. Continue to cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and the fruit is soft but not mushy; they should still hold their shape. Remove from the heat and pour onto a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool for about 20 minutes.
Put a spoonful of the caramelized fruit in the bottom of a cup or bowl. Carefully add the hot soup on top. Refrigerate till cold.
Place the egg whites in a medium-size mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to medium-high and add the powered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time beating to stiff but not dry peaks.
Place the meringue in a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Remove the soup from the refrigerator and pipe the meringue onto the tops in a decorative pattern. Place the soup bowls in a deep baking dish and fill it with warm water to come one third of the way up the side of the bowls. Let stand for about 30 minutes to warm the soup. (If you do this before you serve dinner, the soup should be ready to be browned by the time you have finished eating.)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove the soup bowls from the baking dish and place them on a baking sheet. Place in the oven just until the meringue begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. The soup should not get very hot. Remove from the oven and serve immediately
Option 2-                       Hot Chocolate Soup with Hazelnut Cream

1 recipe basic chocolate soup
2 cups heavy cream
confectioner’s sugar to taste
generous spoonful of hazelnut spread (Nutella) or hazelnut paste if available
Make basic chocolate soup as above. Beat heavy cream with confectioner’s sugar till soft peaks just start to form. Add hazelnut spread and beat to combine. Put cream in a pastry bag with a large tip and pipe on warm soup or simply dollop on (cream will start to melt. Garnish with fresh berries if desired

As Always,

Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie


    You have made my day and my week!!! You are so very special and I look forward to the day when I can actually give you the enormous hug you deserve!!!
    MWAH!!! =)

  2. These soups would certainly cure a chocolate craving. I hope your friend will be in better spirits soon.

  3. Even your bathroom is elegant! Thanks for the recipe. You are a treasure.

  4. Love the idea of an elegant bathroom in which to enjoy such a decadent treat! Great photos!

  5. hmmmmm....this is a very relaxing post with the wonderful pictures, and recipes. Thank you for sharing, and soothing the soul.

  6. Pattie and Allie, Your bath is so elegant and luxurious, and how relaxing it would be to have a cup of chocolate soup and a glass of red wine!
    Hugs, Beth

  7. My goodness, do you know how to live! I am a chocoholic too and will HAVE to try THIS! With the bath of course! Thanks for the idea!

  8. Pattie, I had a pretty bad week last week... I needed you and this chocolate soup! I kept saying "oh my gosh, oh my gosh" as I looked through these fabulous recipes! I have never made this "as good as s-x" dessert! But I will now!
    I'm feeling much more like myself this week, but I may have to fake a blue day and treat myself to this heavenly dessert!

    Beautiful bathroom. What a great home! I can't wait to see what you do with your new home.
    Please give Allie a hug for me!
    xo Yvonne

  9. Chocolate...such a great way to get pampered. Your home is beautiful, too.

  10. What an amazing post! I don't think I could move from such an elegant gorgeous bathroom suite. You deserve such a luxury !The comb and brush linen is such a keepsake. Your blog is better than an issue of Victoria magazine.Thank you for sharing such classy and gourmet dishes. Take care, Emelia

  11. This is beautiful and the the chocolates look so yummy. Almost too pretty to eat! Your home is awesome!

  12. The chocolate soup with the meringue...just gorgeous!

  13. OMG, these chocolate soups are to die for. I think I am feeling now that I know I cannot have them:-( You are such a wonderul mom and a wonderful friend. I can sleep there. Lovely bathroom!...Christine

  14. Oh mmmm chocolate soup . . . now I know what to do the next time I am feeling blue. What a fab mom and friend you are! xxoo

  15. I see it clearly now.. This is what you are to people, Chocolate soup with all the beautiful trimmings.. I will never see chocolate again and not think of you and your caring ways..You sooth and refresh people and just plain make them happy, even in a blue time.. Thanks for the recipes, the beautiful photos but more than anything, thank you for being YOU..


  16. CHOCOLATE SOUP- ROCK ON! Can't wait to add this to my list of recipes to try!
    Thanks for sharing!

  17. What a wonderfully decadent treat, Pattie. I am sure your friend, Julie appreciated your thoughtfulness. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  18. Just look at that tub! SUMPUTUOUS! Awwww, why can't I have one of those! LOL! :) Great pics Patti!! Just a reminder - my Friday Vignette's post is tomorrow, and I'd love it if you'd link up! Even pictures from this post - the vignettes are great! :) Hope you join in! :) Artie

  19. Chocolate and a bath...DOES IT GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT!! Lovely post!


  20. Even just the tought of a chocolate soup is enough to make my spirits rise:D

  21. Chocolate soup...I can't show this to my husband or he will want me to make it tonight! It looks wonderful.

  22. wow chocolate soup in the bath.. now that would be heaven. quite delectable!

  23. Well, yummmmm! I've already copied this to my recipe file. I'm going to be a total hit at the luncheon that I'm attending next week. Thank you for generously sharing! Cherry Kay

  24. Now I could really use a friend like you! You know exactly what's needed and when and even how much! Excellent!!!
    Your pics are beautiful...your home is beautiful and by your thoughtful story, I can tell you are beautiful!
    Have a beautiful day~
    ;-D Kathleen

  25. Patti, I came here for the chocolate, but my oh my do I love your idea of pampering. I wish I had a bath like yours. What a beautiful spot. And you spend your time in the kitchen???? LOL
    This is a delicious post for the senses! I'm copying each one of these recipes. Guess I'll be having zuppa di cioccolata soon! ~ Sarah

  26. Now...this is living in grand style...Chocolate and romantically decorated bathrooms ;o)

    Flavourful wishes,

  27. I have had a drink like thi sin Milano and it was just beautiful. Your recipe also looks beautiful and your presentation is even nicer.


  28. Good Lord! Why did I have to see this? Now I'm going to obsess for the rest of the day until I get/make it.


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