Modica Chocolate - history and traditions
The Modica chocolate is made with a very old recipe, none other than from the Aztecs. It was introduced in the County of Modica by the Spaniards, during their domination in southern Italy.
When the Spanish were ruling Sicily in the 16th Century, conquistadors went to Mexico and brought back cacao and the recipes needed for what the Aztecs called xocoàtl, a paste ground by a smooth round stone called a metate. Unlike the often over-sugared and creamy snack we know as chocolate, the original xocoàtl was bitter and used to enhance sauces for meat dishes, grated over salads or eaten on its own as a dietary supplement. If prepared with certain spices, it was considered an aphrodisiac.
In Modica, generations of families have followed the same techniques, using metates crafted with lava stone from Mt Etna. Locals would mix the chocolate paste with sugar, “cold working” it at 40° so that the sugar doesn’t get hot enough to melt; it gives the treat an unusual but deliciously crunchy texture.
The chocolate bar of Modica has a brown colour which is not consistent. The aroma is that of roasted cocoa beans, with a slight trace of astringency. It is traditionally flavoured with cinnamon or vanilla. However you can just as easily find chocolate with typical sicilian flavours as chilli, carob, coffee, citrus fruits.
The Modica Chocolate is now available here in New Zealand with Original Sicily. Try the classic chocolate bar, the chocolate bar with citrus fruits or the chocolate with orange peel