26 May 2010
Posted in FOOD AND WINE
Chocolate, sweet, melt in your mouth chocolate. One of the very best varieties of chocolate comes from the Ragusa area of Sicily, and is still produced in much the same way as chocolate was originally made by the Aztecs. It is much stronger than normal chocolate, so be prepared to be blown away…
Without soy lechtins, milk or other additives, this chocolate is about as pure as it gets, and the number of top quality producers in the area has earned Modica recognition as “The South Pole of Chocolate” by the organisation Eurochocolate.
When the Spanish first reached the new world they met all kinds of strange new foodstuffs, the likes of which had never been seen before in Europe. They found xocolatl to be particularly interesting. The forerunner of modern chocolate, it was bitter, unlike the chocolate we know today, and was appreciated for its invigorating and mood enhancing properties. It could be eaten as a solid or drunk as a liquid and flavoured with spices and vanilla.
As Sicily was also under Spanish rule in the 15th and 16th centuries, the island came into contact with this discovery, and the pretty baroque town of Modica was no exception, quickly catching on to the value of this new foodstuff and developing great expertise in its production. This tradition has lived on ever since despite the great changes in culture Sicily has seen, the unification of Italy in 1860 and even a devastating earthquake which destroyed much of the town in the late 17th century.
Prepared using cocoa mass direct from the Ivory Coast, the solids are heated until they melt and blended with natural ingredients including sugar and various spices, most commonly vanilla and cinnamon. The chocolate is then beaten into shape, driving out excess air and resulting in a rich, flavourful chocolate that can be bought and eaten alone, grated into hot milk for an incredible hot chocolate drink, or used in cooking. Surprisingly, many of the recipes Modica chocolate is used in are savoury, such as meat and chocolate pastries although you can also get more traditional treats featuring local ingredients such as almonds or lemons.
Modica is worth a visit for its Baroque beauty alone, but add to this the fact that it is a chocoholic’s paradise and you have a winning recipe. Include Modican chocolate in your Sicilian wedding by having chocolate tasting sessions or serving Modica chocolate treats after the meal, or use your honeymoon to visit the town and see how the chocolate and other local produce, including fine cheeses and sweet honey, are made. A gourmet paradise, in short!
Wedding venues in Sicily:
- Castello Camemi - Wedding in Sicily immersed in beauty and elegance
- Castello San Marco - Your wedding in elegant Sicilian style
- Borgia del Casale - Outstanding Sicilian luxury and prestige
- Des Etrangers Hotel & SPA - Roof Garden Restaurant & Bar
- Villa Igiea - Night of your dreams in a premium suite
- San Domenico Palace - The charm of history, the passion for hospitality, the certainty of experience
- Hotel Imperiale - Breahtaking view, unique wedding experience