Iannuccilli: Time for Hot Chocolate

Monday, January 07, 2019


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Dr. Ed Iannuccilli, Columnist

Last week, because it was thirty degrees with a howling wind, it became hot chocolate weather.  It was not with any deductive reasoning like, “Gee, it’s the first cold day, and I need a hot chocolate,” that I felt the need.  No, it just happened.

I was meeting someone at The Seven Stars Bakery with coffee in mind when the young woman asked what I wanted. I blurted, “A hot chocolate, please.” With that, it became winter.

A young man made one of the best hot chocolates I have had. As a first step toward banishing the winter chill, I sat and wrapped my hands around the mug letting the pure warmth flow through my fingers and palms.  I gazed at the frothy foam floating at the top and then sinking to iceberg depth as it melted into the chocolate. It was time for the first sip. Anything frothy must be good.

The dark chocolate, tinged with sweet, milky foam singed my lips. Its rich flavor coated my tongue as I swirled and swallowed. I was warmed from within.   A bit of foam mustached my upper lip. I looked around the bakery and then let it sit a while before licking it off. The cocoa was as good as my mother’s and reminded me of the days when she made it for me after a cold day of sledding.

Mom called it cocoa. With a tablespoon, she scooped the powder from the box of Hershey’s and turned it into the milk heating on the stove. She stirred patiently and when done, she poured the cocoa into my cup and topped it with a marshmallow. I was careful to be sure the heat passed my sensitive tongue quickly as I had temporarily stuck it (and removed it painfully) on the rim of my cold sled while waiting to slide at the top of the hill. Once by my tongue, the drink’s warmth trickled to my toes.

I have made hot chocolate at home by adding hot water to a prescribed mix. Though good, it hardly matched that of Mom’s or Seven Stars’. So, I got in touch with Brian, the Seven’s beverage manager who was so kind to share their recipe. They use cocoa powder, cane sugar and a pinch of salt, adding the mix and milk to a small saucepan. They whisk it over low heat.

Once warmed, surely with love, they gradually add more milk and whisk again until hot, taking care not to boil.  Vanilla extract and whipped cream seals the deal.  Brian added that a pinch of cinnamon or peppermint extract instead of vanilla is also quite good.

Most of the time, we don’t fuss like that with our hot chocolate because we’re too busy.  It’s okay but every now and then, someone must fuss for us. It is a winter special. Some things are too good to have just once.

Ed Iannuccilli is the author of "Growing up Italian" and "What Ever Happened to Sunday Dinner?" and both books can be found here.


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The Office of Senate President Dominick Ruggerio released the following statement regarding Kettle's resignation from the Senate.

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Attorney General Peter Kilmartin

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In October the receiver and special investigator in the St. Joseph pension fund collapse claimed Kilmartin failed to do his job.

“At the very least, the Attorney General failed to 'mind the store' when it came to the rights of Plan participants in 2014, and continues to oppose their assertion of their lawful rights. Apparently, it will take the zealous advocacy of the Receiver on behalf of the Plan participants to obtain for them what was rightfully theirs over four years ago,” wrote the receiver Stephen Del Sesto and the special investigator Max Wistow in the documents filed late on Friday afternoon.

So the list of blunders includes:

- Failed oversight of St. Joseph Pension Fund 

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- Failed to file hundreds of charging documents 


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