The marocchino: a coffee, hot chocolate and foamy milk delight.
As I promised you in my last post, here is one of my favourite coffee and hot chocolate combinations to come out of an Italian bar: the marocchino. I’m sorry this post took a little while to get to you: with two weeks of school holidays, a visit to to island of Mallorca (more about that in a few weeks) and packing up all the junk in my kitchen so that it can be renovated (yay!), I’ve almost forgotten how to type! Anyway, I’m here now, and so is this delicious marocchino. The worst thing about making it for taking photos was that I couldn’t drink it straight away. Coffee made in this way is terribly addictive.
Where can you get a marocchino coffee?
The marocchino is made in small glass cups, a tiny bit larger than Italian espresso cups. The layers you can see are a small shot of espresso, followed by thick Italian hot chocolate or nutella, then foamed milk, and finally covered in a sprinkling of cocoa powder. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is! This is not a coffee drink that you can get anywhere in Italy. It is said to have originated from the beautiful Northern city of Turin, which you know I have a special bias for. If you ask for a marocchino down in the South of Italy, you will probably get quizzical looks from the barista in the cafe, as the word “marocchino” also means “a Moroccan person”. The name is said to actually have been given to the drink because it has a similar colour as a type of leather that was produced in the 1930’s called by the same name. So that you can go into a cafe in Italy and make sure they know what you’re asking for, marocchino is pronounced “mar-0-ki-no”. 🙂
Two versions of the Marocchino
I made the two versions of the marocchino so that you can see the approximate quantities of each ingredient. Italian hot chocolate is a very thick drink which deserves its own post. The chocolate is so thick that you can almost stand a spoon up in it. It is more like pure melted chocolate than the drink we know as hot chocolate outside of Italy. In fact, take that as a warning – if you ever offer a hot chocolate to an Italian, they’ll expect the thick version and won’t quite know what to make of the thin watery version we drink. It may be difficult for you to get hold of the real thing, so instead you can use Nutella, which is also a legitimate way to make a marocchino. It is often served like this in bars in Northern Italy.
To make a marocchino, you need either an espresso machine or an Italian coffee maker that makes espresso on the stove top (a moka). It won’t work if you use instant coffee.
Travel Photo Of The Week
It has to be Turin! I love this photo of Piazza Vittorio looking up towards Piazza Castello where the palace of the Savoy royalty was housed long ago, because you can see the snow-covered mountains behind. It’s not that often you can see them from the city (the mountains, not the royalty!), even though they are quite close by.
The photo below shows one of my favourite bars in Turin, where you can get a marocchino made with real hot chocolate. If you go there, try to sit at that little table beside the window. You can sip your coffee and nibble on a delicious pastry while watching the world go by just on the other side of the glass. The bar is called Caffe Mulassano and is in the centre of the city, hidden under one of the arcades, near Piazza Castello. While you are drinking your marocchino, don’t forget to look up at the beautiful ornate ceiling!
By Lisa Watson
Marocchino: a coffee, hot chocolate, and foamy milk delight
- Espresso coffee
- Nutella or Italian Hot Chocolate
- Cocoa powder
- If using nutella, using a teaspoon, smear the chocolate spread on the sides of the cup. If using Italian hot chocolate, pour some ready-made hot chocolate into the cup until it is a third full.
- Make a cup of espresso coffee, then pour some of it into the prepared cup (about a third for the hot chocolate cup, and about 1/2 a cup for the nutella cup)
- Steam milk until it becomes a thick foam and fill the cups with the foamed milk.
- Using a fine-meshed sieve, sprinkle the top with cocoa powder.