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Mission Europe: The Perfect Cup of Hot Chocolate

Autumn in turin is beautiful!  Colorful foliage, crisp breezes and street performers that add a soundtrack to my walks through the city… *sigh*

On my first day alone in the city, completely alone that is… I decided to take Turin by storm and explore its Piazzas and Vias.  Armed with a scribbled map my new friend Andrea drew for me, I set out in search of Turin’s oldest café, Baratti Milano.

I must admit, I walked around the outside of the establishment, to give it a once over and size up the potential menu prices… Dressed in jeans and a baseball T-shirt, it seemed quite intimidating.  Through the polished windows I observed uniformed waiters buff the marble countertops, I watched the sun catch the gold detailing on the rich brown wooden wall panels and noticed how not a thing seemed out of place.  I mustered up the courage to keep a straight face in the event I was politely escorted out, due to my casual appearance and quietly walked in the front door.

The intimidating décor languished and I was greeted with a gust of warm air and a silky “Buon Giorno”.  I attempted to order at the bar and was graciously lead to a table and a place to hang my coat.  I promptly ordered an apricot croissant and their classic hot chocolate, watching the waiter smile a bit, amused at my accent, but very cordial none-the-less.  I sat admiring the regal nature of the décor, read the history of Baratti Milano from the menu and listened to the quiet clink of wine glasses being set in a row.  A young Italian man approached my table with a cup of piping hot chocolate and a coy smile… *sigh*  Is there anything better than a man offering a woman a cup of hot chocolate and asking if everything is ok?  Yes, there is something better…

Drinking said chocolate!

The ciocolato caldo was thick and creamy, it took a few seconds to actually move from the cup past my lips.  The first sip was an immediate regression to childhood memories with Mimi in the backyard singing and mom telling me to be careful.  I closed my eyes and let the warmth of the chocolate envelop me.  It was the kind of warmth that not only warms you from head to toe, but the kind of warmth that makes you close your eyes and feel like that moment is all that exists.

The second sip tasted like that conversation I had with mom when I thought my whole world was ending and she reassured me that, it too would pass…  I believe I audibly sighed.  I quickly opened my eyes to see if anyone had heard my slight faux pas; everything seemed in order, but one waiter was smiling at a coffee cup he was polishing… curiouser and curiouser…

I cannot think of enough words to describe the hot chocolate, other than to say, it was an experience; one to remember.  It was the type of creamy, rich, warm, decadent goodness that you travel miles to enjoy.  It was the smooth, thick, deliciousness that makes the world seem like a better place where everything is possible.  I know you may think I am exaggerating, but it was that good!  It was the reason scientists say chocolate “tastes like love”…. Intoxicating, like the scent of a park after rainfall.  Memorable, as a first kiss.  Lingering, like long dream.  Comforting, as a mother’s hug.  Pleasant like an outing with friends.  Fluent; a beautiful dance…

It was that good.

I never knew the perfect cup of hot chocolate existed…

Until I visited Baratti Milano.

The perfect cup of hot chocolate

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