Modica chocolate: the food of the gods

Top reasons to come visit south-east Sicily: baroque towns, sandy beaches and Modica chocolate.

Two things come to mind when thinking about Modica: Sicilian baroque and chocolate. Situated in the province of Ragusa, Modica is indeed renowned for being a UNESCO World Heritage Site and starring as the Sicilian capital of chocolate.

The so-called Cicculatta Muricana is an iconic specialty which stands out for its preparation. The chocolate is made by manually grinding the cocoa beans at a low temperature that must not exceed 35-45°. This way the sugar never melts and gives the chocolate a unique grainy texture. Therefore, unlike other commercial chocolate, the Cioccolata Modicana is cold-processed. It doesn’t undergo the conching phase, that is, the roasting, grinding and liquefying of the ingredients in a special container, the “conca”.

Fun fact: cocoa beans were primarily imported from Latin America to Europe in the 16th century by the Spanish conquerors. They were the first to process the beans with sugar by using an ancient item, a round-shaped bowl called “metate”. That is how the Spaniards developed a recipe that still recalls Modica chocolate. 

However, it is believed that the very first use of cocoa is credited to the Aztec, who considered it not only as a symbol of social rank but also employed it as a sort of vehicle to communicate with deities.

From cocoa to chocolate, from bean to bar

Cocoa – Theobroma cacao – is the fruit of a tropical plant called “cabossa”. Shaped as an elongated oval with a reddish-brown skin, it contains about 40-60 seeds immersed in a clear, jelly-like substance. Once the seeds are extracted from the cabossa, they undergo a six-day fermentation process and are then sun-dried and roasted. At this point the seeds are ready to be peeled and ground in order to obtain the cocoa mass from which the final magic comes: chocolate.

The term Theobroma derives from the Greek words θεός, ‘god’ and βρῶμα ‘food’: it truly is the food of the gods. Cocoa is indeed rich in flavonoids, which play a crucial role in improving heart and brain health.

Sabadì, “slow living” Modica chocolate

You can tell right from the taste: Modica chocolate is a whole different story. That is why Simone Sabaini moved to Sicily from Verona to start his “sweet” adventure with Sabadì. Simone, thunderstruck by the beauty of Modica and its slow living, came up with an evocative name for his company. An imaginary day of week inviting us to take our time and enjoy the little things: that’s Sabadì.

He makes his own rules when it comes to the preparation of chocolate. Only few biological, selected ingredients are involved: cocoa beans, brown sugar, citron peel or spices. The chocolate is tempered throughout the cold-processing work, without altering it and preserving its organoleptic properties. This makes Sabadì chocolate tasteful and grainy, keeping the sugar crystals whole thanks to the softness of the butter naturally contained in the beans.

Sabadì best-sellers are certainly its aromatic sweets and the chocolate. No wonder that it has been recognized as the Best Modica Chocolate by the Compagnia del Cioccolato for nine consecutive years. 

Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, the traditional Modica Chocolate

Since 1880, Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, nestled in the heart of Modica, has been making history in the chocolate production. Pierpaolo Ruta embodies the sixth generation of a prestigious dynasty of “ciucculatari” – chocolate producers – devoted to carry on a quality craftmanship and the love for the territory.

The pastry shop preserves its confectionery heritage by combining ancient flavors with modern contaminations. Here it is the secret of its success: an ancestral family tradition handed down from generation to generation. Moreover, the laboratory, “Fattojo Bonajuto”, is a must-see spot providing guided tours in different languages. During the visit, you see how chocolate is made, from “bean to bar”.

The Dolceria’s specialties include the ‘mpanatigghi and nucatoli, which are biscuits filled with dry figs, almonds, quince jam and honey. However, you can guess the very star of the Dolceria, listed among the 100 Italian excellences by Eurispes: take a bite of their chocolate and you’ll taste the Bonajuto style.

The most beautiful holiday villas near Modica

Long story short: are you craving Modica chocolate now? Discover our selection of the most beautiful holiday villas in the Ragusa area and get ready for a sweet experience in Modica.

Villa Maya, Modica

Marina di Modica is the splendid setting of Villa Maya, a luxury seafront villa with pool surrounded by a luxuriant garden and panoramic terraces.  Ideal for relaxing holidays by the sea, this dream villa is located just a few kilometres from the baroque towns of Modica, Scicli, Ragusa Ibla and Noto.

Villa Maya (Modica)

Meravilla, Modica

Situated halfway between Modica and Scicli, Meravilla is an exclusive villa with pool set in a panoramic position. Surrounded by a luxuriant garden and large terraces, this dwelling boasts stunning and cosy interiors, including a wellness area with sauna, Turkish bath, Jacuzzi and multi-sensory shower.

Meravilla (Modica)

Villa Luna, Scicli

Luxury villa set in the baroque town of Scicli, boasting enchanting views of its setting, a picturesque scenery and landscape you can enjoy from its panoramic terraces or infinity pool. Villa Luna is the perfect starting point to go explore the charms of the Val di Noto and taste the Modica chocolate.

Villa Luna (Scicli)

Villa Drago Spa, Donnalucata

Charming villa with pool and wellness area in Donnalucata. Villa Drago Spa, built following the traditional local architecture, offers panoramic terraces overlooking the lovely surrounding landscape and the sea. It is the ideal property to enjoy a relaxing holiday and visit the iconic settings of the Inspector Montalbano series such as Sampieri, Punta Secca and the Donnafugata Castle.

Villa Drago Spa (Donnalucata)

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