'Xocolata Calenta'

Aiden Silvestri '22
February 8, 2019
Aiden Silvestri


The cool winter breeze raises the hairs on my neck. A mug of hot chocolate, or xocolata calenta, rests on the metal table in front of me. Steam rises from the cup in swirls, dissipating into the chilly air. I take a deep breath. The sweet scent of pastries lingers in the street from the quaint family-style cafes. Small shops filled with souvenirs, sweets, and especially FC Barcelona merchandise line the streets, each named in a language I can’t understand. Behind my dad, a worn-down cement building is spray-painted with bright red and yellow. It is the mural of the Barcelona fútbol star, Leo Messi, that attracts my eyes. His shoulders are hunched as he keeps his legs close together, his signature position before taking a free kick. A local, wrapped in layers of thick clothing, passes by gazing at his giant figure with a smile. A tourist points to the mural muttering words of admiration to his friend. I wrap my fingers around the mug and the warmth spreads up my hands. I lift the hot chocolate up to my nose. The rich scent reminds me of Christmastime as a kid, when I would sit around a fire with my family, a cup of hot cocoa in my hands; all of us talking and laughing. I lean down and perch my lips on the rim of the cup. I take a sip. The thick texture startles me, and the residue of the drink lingers in my throat. My dad chuckles. “Different, right?” He grabs the mug from my hand and takes a big swig. Gulping it down, he breathes in deeply, leaning his head back and closing his eyes to take in the sounds of the city; bustling tourists negotiating prices with shop owners, rings of bicycle bells as bicyclists fly down the street. I blow into the cup and the liquid barely moves. Chunks of chocolate rise to the surface. I take another sip out of the mug, and in the sweet is a hint of bitterness. I swirl it around my mouth, letting the sugar be absorbed by my tongue. I realize it is literally heated chocolate. I sip my dad’s water to dilute the strength of it. “I love it!” I say to him.


Editor’s note: Aiden wrote this piece as part of a descriptive paragraph-writing assignment for English Instructor Patricia Burke Hickey’s class during fall term.

This article first appeared in the winter 2019 issue of The Exeter Bulletin.