In this icy cold weather, hot drinks and comfort foods

Gala Placidia Image
02/08/2012 - 06:10

In this icy cold weather, hot drinks and comfort foods are a must. Preparing and consuming them are good ways to spend time when we cannot venture outdoors.
Thinking of hot drinks, you immediately imagine a cup of hot mulled wine, also called "vin brûlé", although this is a French expression. A mixture of red wine, lemon zest, cloves and sugar, simmered (never allowed to boi) with a cinnamon stick is a real comfort drink. Serve it with cantuccini or slices of "castagnaccio" (See this old recipe in the Italymag archives,
which is very similar to the one I use with the addition of some lemon and orange zest. Also have a look at the other recipes, great winter fare)
Another great drink is a "bombardino", eggnogg served with whipped cream and cinnamon, very popular in the Italian ski resorts.
For those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages, I recommend


6 eggs
125 g honey
1 l milk
freshly grated nutmeg

Whisk the eggs until they become frothy, slowly add the honey, beating all the time and then the milk. Warm up the mixture in a double boiler (do not allow to boil)

At this time of the year, you also crave for hearty soups, stews and pulses. Also in this old thread, you may find some great Italian recipes:

Certainly, you all have your own recipes that you would like to share with the rest of the members.


"It is said that those wonderful rescue dogs, the Saint Bernards, used to carry either grappa or genepy in their barrels to help people in trouble in the snow." They never carried brandy.  According to Wikipedia "The monks of the St. Bernard Hospice deny that any St. Bernard has ever carried casks or small barrels around their necks; they believe that the origin of the image is an 1820 painting by Edwin Landseer, perhaps Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveler (which became a popular engraving in 1931 by Charles Landseer).  The monks did keep casks around for photographs by tourists" Nice story though

I know what you mean, Sprostoni... Anyway, if you are not in the cooking mood, there are some Italian alcoholic drinks that can help to warm you up. In moderation, certainly, as alcohol also dehydrates the person and this is not good, even in winter (we always think about drinking water in the middle summer, but we must be careful during the cold season as well) Grappa is the first one that we will think of when talking about alcoholic drinks.  Some Italians still distil their own. It is quite a complicated process. Very high alcoholic content; however, many people swear that it is excellent for your health (once again, in moderation). Another less known drink is Genepy, the herb liqueur from Val d'Aosta. There are two varieties, green and yellow. In both cases, the herb "Artemisa", which grows at an altitude of 2000-3000 m is used, the difference in colour comes from the fact that in the case of the green one, fresh herbs are used. On the other hand, in the case of the yellow one, they use dry herbs.  As for grappa, the alcoholic content is  very high (about 40%). It is said that those wonderful rescue dogs, the Saint Bernards, used to carry either grappa or genepy in their barrels to help people in trouble in the snow.

Great recipes Gala Placidia - thank you. For an alcoholic warm you up - how about a hot toddy, whisky with honey, lemon juice and spices like cinammon stick, cloves and grated nutmeg. Non-alcoholic - large mug of hot chocolate.  I'm just about to make one for myself to warm up. Though, if you want to spice it up, a dash of Baileys in the hot chocolate is also very warming.

Italian hot chocolate, or "cioccolata calda" is absolutely delicious. Very thick, rich and creamy, it tastes more like chocolate pudding and it is very similar to the one we drink in Spain. It is served in small cups and it is better that way, as I do not want to think about the number of calories contained in those small cups. And our livers must work extra hard!!!! But it is a real treat and great in very cold weather. P.S. Thank you for the clarification about the St Bernard dogs, Alanh. Just as you said, it was a beautiful story, though.