Italian hot chocolate is to American hot chocolate as Italian coffee is to American coffee.
It's dense and very dark and sweet. I like the chocolate, but not the espresso.
No pepper or mascarpone though.
You mix lots of cocoa (3 heaping tsp or more per teacup) and an equal amount or more of sugar. Add a little cold water, about 1/4 cup, a little at a time and mix well and cook it slowly for a while. Only then do you add the milk and heat. It makes a teacup;s worth. People take it with a spoon sometimes. Some put whipped cream on it.
For my taste a few grains of salt add a lot, but Italians don't (and wouldn't) add salt.
I've read that the water brings out the flavor of chocolate and this is extremely chocolatey. I also like american hot chocolate which is more like milk chocolate, but this is more like semisweet dark chocolate, and is usually what i make.
I've tried it with vanilla (i like it) coffee (i like it) and cinnamon (thought i;d like it but i find it to be too strong and takes away from the chocolate experience, but i can understand why it would be appealing.) Never heard of pepper, but that something I would like. Will try it.
Of course, all of this is off topic and doesn;t help with the hot chocolate mix question.
Commercial Italian hot chocolate mixes usually have cornstarch in them. You're supposed to cook them and the chocolate comes out very thick, like thin very dark pudding. People might find that appealing.
I've heard many people really liking hot chocolate mixes, though I don't see much point when what you're making a mix for is just "mix cocoa and sugar, add water, add milk". It's hardly rocket science.
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