There is a tasty story. An Aztec legend tells that the god Quetzalcoatl, a white god with a long feathered beard, stole from the other gods a gift for humans: the cacao tree. The god teached to humans how to cultivate the tree and manipulate its fruits. But the other gods, who resented to share with humans that gift, sent Tezcatlipoca, the god of darkness, on Earth. This God made Quetzalcoatl drunk, ridiculing him in front of the humans, which turned their back on the generous god and ceased to take care of cacao plants. Quetzalcoatl, upset and disappointed, left the Earth forever but some cocoa seeds fell down from his vest, that took root on the rich Mexican land.
1519, some centuries later, another white man with a beard showed up in front of Aztec people: Cortes. He was not a god, he did not bring gifts, but the downfall of this great culture. Thanks to him and to the Spanish conquest, though, cocoa and his ancient working technique came to Modica in the XVI century, during the Spanish domination.
Modica chocolate: craftmanship
What does make Modica chocolate unique and extraordinary is its cold working, which remained identical over the centuries, handed down from father to son by the chocolate masters of the city. The process starts crushing the brown sugar in the mortar, and purifying it in a sieve.
Then the cocoa is grinded, put in a copper pot and heated to a maximum temperature of 104°F. When cocoa is melted, it is removed from the fire to mix it with sugar and, with accurate movements, those two ingredients are combined on a pastry board. The mixture is worked over and over on a lava stone with an heavy stone rolling pin, until it reaches the perfect softness to create a chocolate loaf that will be cut in smaller parts, each one of about 100 gr. Now the mixture parts are inserted in specific rectangular metal sheet molds to be pressed manually. Those molds are then hit repeatedly to flatten the chocolate to remove possible air bubbles from the mixture. After a few hours of rest our chocolate bars are ready to be wrapped up.
Over time Modica chocolate industries started to use more modern equipment, however those machineries do not compromise the final result in any way: a chocolate bar smooth and shiny on the surface but crumbly on the inside. This effect is caused by the cold working that does not melt sugar crystals but mantains them inside the mixture, giving the chocolate a crumbly consistency and a rough aspect.
Modica chocolate variants
Modica chocolate variants are many and all delicious. Pure chocolate lovers can choose between: 100% cocoa sugarfree chocolate bars, 80% cocoa chocolate bars, or try our "Neropuro" a chocolate bar with an intense and strong taste where cocoa is at least 65%. Modica chocolate masters accepted to create differnt variations of chocolate, everyone connected by the same common thread, in order to not distort the nature of that typical sicilian product. That common thread is the mediterranean flavor of Sicily.
From this union are born: vanilla, pistachio, jasmine, cannelle and orange peel chocolate. There is no shortage of the most particular specialities like salt Trapani chocolate, where sweet and salty tastes are mixed in a unique glorification of flavors, or chilli chocolate or Nero d'Avola (typical local wine) chocolate. Everybody loves Modica chocolate and it conquers every palate. It's unbelievable to find out how those ancient techniques allows to realize a so refined product. Maybe that's the reason why Aztecs used their chocolate as a coin, because of its timeless sweet value now and then.