La Dolce Vita: Sweet Dreams and Chocolate Memories by Isabel Coe

La Dolce Vita: Sweet Dreams and Chocolate Memories book cover

A friend of mine suggested I read Isabel Coe’s La Dolce Vita: Sweet Dreams and Chocolate Memories, a fascinating story about a woman and her family in Italy and Switzerland and the fond memories she has about cooking, especially with chocolate. My friend and I had been discussing our favourite desserts that our grandmothers once made and knowing how much I love all things Italy and chocolate, she kindly let me borrow her copy of the book.

The recipes featured in this book sound heavenly, I have not dared to test them myself because I don’t know whether the end result would be successful and if it was, then how do I stop myself from eating the entire dessert? Isabel Coe talks of her Omama’s Chocolate Mousse, Nonna’s chestnut truffles and her Mother’s chocolate sandwiches, Isabel learned to cook at a young age and finds comfort in these recipes handed down through generations now that she lives in Australia and lives with the feeling of being homesick. One of the first recipes to grab my attention with its simplicity is Omama’s Creme Chocolat, described as a dessert that ‘tastes rich yet is somehow light to eat’ and is best served with chocolate madeleines.

Omama’s Creme Chocolat (Isabel Coe)

  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar


  1. Place the cream in a bowl with the vanilla pod and leave to infuse.
  2. Pour the boiling water over the chocolate and stir until dissolved. Stir in the sugar and leave to cool.
  3. Lightly whip the cream and fold into the chocolate mixture.
  4. Eat slowly and savour every mouthful.

I particularly love the last step in the instructions for preparation 🙂

If you have read the book and made any of the recipes contained within I would love to hear about it and if you haven’t read the book but love a good story about family and food, I recommend reading ‘La Dolce Vita’. Reading this book brings back many food memories of my own: shelling peas into a bucket for my Nanna as she prepares Christmas lunch for 20-30 people; beating sugar and butter by hand while sitting in the sun hoping that the warmth would speed the process; and eating the blackest, juiciest plums straight from the tree in my Grandmother’s backyard. It makes me wish that I had captured more of my family stories while my Grandparents were alive.


3 thoughts on “La Dolce Vita: Sweet Dreams and Chocolate Memories by Isabel Coe

  1. imemine May 16, 2012 / 8:29 pm

    yes grandparents are very precious…i miss mine a lot and really treasure the time my kids spend with my mum and dad…especially cooking…i am hopeless at it

    • twoblackdoggies May 16, 2012 / 8:43 pm

      I miss mine too, both of my grandmothers were wonderful cooks and I loved ‘helping’ them in the kitchen. My brother has my Australian Nanna’s recipe book and he has made several recipes with success, I think she would be very proud.

  2. This Sydney Life May 17, 2012 / 8:40 am

    How wonderful that your brother cooks from your Nanna’s recipe book. That’s a lovely way to keep her memory close. My Omi made a fantastic hot raspberry sauce over vanilla ice-cream (with raspberries from her garden). She died a long time ago and I still think of her often. Grandparents are special.

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