Modica- the dark world of chocolate

Who doesn’t like chocolate? I think there is no need to ask this question. Did you know that chocolate is almost as old as the human civilisation and before we even suspected, here I mean our contemporary world, that it could be good for our health, the ancient people already knew it. Everything started in South America. Local people believed it came from the gods of wisdom! It was considered as an aphrodisiac, and it was supposed to give strength. Apparently the king Montezuma could have up to 50 cups of chocolate a day! Last Friday we visited Modica, which is one of the most famous cities for the chocolate production.  Here everyone makes chocolate and sales it to different places. Modica is famous not only because of its chocolate,  but because of the way the chocolate is being made. It looks like the method has not changed since XVIth century! Below you can see the picture I took in the Museum of Chocolate, showing an ancient sculpture, which was used for crushing the cocoa grain. I hope you will forgive me the quality of some of these pictures. Like I mentioned before, I  cannot edit them, and some of them are actually pictures themselves,  which I have seen in that museum.

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What you see below is a print from an old document, dated back to XVIII century,  showing the accessories used to make chocolate and other sweet products. By the way, this document comes from Modica, and the oldest I have seen was a letter dated back to 1657, describing the details of an order made by a merchant living in Modica. I guess it tells you a lot about how old the tradition of making chocolate in Modica is.

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I’m going to be honest with you. What you’re about to see has nothing to do with the chocolate we know. It was a surprise for me too. It’s not the chocolate we know or remember from our childhood. Even the taste of it is different,  I don’t even mention the way this chocolate looks like. However, from what I was told by the local chocolate producers, this is the way the real chocolate should look and taste like. And you know what- it’s delicious!

When I was asking people in Modica, where was the best place to try this famous chocolate, everybody said Dolceria Bonajuto:) So I’m taking you there now.

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This is the most famous pastry and chocolate shop in the whole region I dare say. When you enter you see the whole crowd of people trying different sorts of chocolate, buying, placing orders or simply just admiring the interior. Bonajuto is not big, but there is something about this place…

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I’m happy I managed to take this picture. A sneak peak of the magic happening in the back…

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And below you can see the different kinds of chocolate.  These are samples you can try and decide which one you would like to buy. I tried almost all of them, and I have to say I really liked the one with bergamote, majeran- and this one is brand new, also chili pepper is great with chocolate !

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What’s really charming about Bonajuto is the decoration. You can see these nice, old looking, little accessories showing you the history of chocolate and how it influenced the city.

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These little “baking” sheets you see below are still in use. The chocolate from Modica has this shape, and weighs 50g – in most cases. However you can also get 100g tablets.

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I also visited other places, which make and sell chocolate. Just have a look. It’s incredible how Modica and its culture is still connected to the past and the tradition.

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You might ask what is so good about this chocolate? Well, just listen to that. When I was getting wild in one of the chocolate shops, I asked if I would be able to keep it in the car for the next few days, considering that it’s really hot outside. And yes! This chocolate does not contain cocoa butter! It means that what you get is the pure health benefits coming from cocoa.  All the magnesium, antioxidants, energy and many other things. Also, the way they make it in Modica, is the old and the best method. It’s the low temperature that preserves the healthy ingredients, not higher than 40C degrees. Also, when you eat it, you can still feel the sugar. They use very good quality sugar and the best cocoa grains.

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And this is what I bought…

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Below a few pictures from Modica, just to show you how beautiful that place is. I hope you can visit it at some point. We loved it down there.

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We are moving to Taormina tomorrow so I better start getting ready! Good night 🙂

23 thoughts on “Modica- the dark world of chocolate

  1. It was absolutely IMPOSSIBLE for me to read this blog post without eating some chocolate at the same time 😀 Good thing I always keep some on hand! Thanks for the information — very interesting! Although, even I must say that 50 cups per day sounds like a bit excessive… 40, okay, fine. But 50?! …. 😀

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    • The taste is very intense, you can also taste the sugar, but I was told it’s a matter of the quality of sugar they use. After trying different flavours I also understand now that the cocoa butter actually overtakes any other flavour, that’s why the more of pure cocoa the better. I’m sorry I couldn’t reply earlier Bonnie 🙂

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    • I knew you would appreciate that Ronit. You know that I actually got back to that famous shop just to buy some more chocolate and I was watching these guys while they were making some enormous cakes. I figured it was marzipan and something else, but only that marzipan layer was a masterpiece Ronit. Everything is handmade, literally tailored to the size of the cake. It looked amazing.

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      • Sounds amazing.!
        I make my own marzipan (recipe in my blog, if you’re interested) and can only appreciate the hard work and dedication needed to make such labor intestine foods on a daily basis…
        It’s so great to know there are still such people out there. Thanks for sharing and for the wonderful photos. 🙂

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  2. What a lovely post! And why apologise about the photos – they are fab! Sounds like some very high quality chocolate with some fabulous, complementing flavours. I too would like the bergamot. Also cardamom. I have never been to a chocolate museum or production area but it sounds fascinating.

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    • It’s absolutely fantastic to see all this chocolate and these flavours.I bought lavender, bergamote, majeran, orange, pistachios and can’t remember what else. But you know, the fact that it doesn’t contain the cocoa butter makes is so much better, less in calories and you can really appreciate the taste of the cocoa. It’s delicious.

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