You’ve just opened a packet of Galaxy chocolate. Or Lindt. Or Cadbury. You can choose which.
You snap off a square (or in my case 4), right on the “break here” line and prepare to chomp. As the chocolate melts in your mouth and the sweet taste cascades down your throat, you become aware of a claggy, sugary coating over your tongue that screams give me more. How many times have we obeyed that apparently not so obvious voice? Yes, it is the cry of fat.
Modica Chocolate, hailing from Modica, Sicily, is a chocolate made without cocoa butter or soy lecithin, ingredients that all the major chocolate brands have in common. Instead, it is made using the traditional Aztec recipe of cacao beans, sugar and flavourings such as vanilla, pepper or sea salt.
Modica is in the South of Sicily in the Val di Noto in the Ragusa area. The Aztec way of making chocolate dates back to the 16th century and was brought over during the Spanish rule of the island who originally found the cacoa beans in Mexico. The method involves cocoa beans being roasted on an instrument called a “metate” (a curved stone resting on two supports), which was then heated. The beans were ground with as stone rolling pin to produce a paste. The cocoa paste was then flavored with spices, vanilla being the most common but also with red pepper, cinnamon and many other spices and local herbs. After, the mixture was rubbed on the metate until it became hard. To avoid having to grind the beans each time, they prepared a paste of cocoa using a small amount of water and corn as a thickener. The production process is considered almost cold at roughly 30-40C but allows the chocolate to retain its grainy texture, which the chocolate is famous for.
The resulting product is dark brown in colour with a coarse, grainy texture; delightful on your tongue. The taste is less sweet than typical chocolate and is more satisfying and enjoyable. For milk chocolate lovers, don’t fear! cocoa content varies but the taste is not as strong as 70% dark chocolate and lighter flavourings like vanilla are popular with the milk-chocolate fans. The earthy grains of sugar add to the unique texture and taste. Traditional flavours are vanilla and hot chilli pepper but today one can also buy carrubba, salt, orange peel and nutmeg as well as many others. In past times people also melted the chocolate as a drink or dipped bread into it.
After trying this chocolate I can safely say that I will never enjoy supermarket-chocolate in quite the same way again. After staying in Sicily, I brought some Modica chocolate back with me; my favourites are the carrubba and sea salt – both have an additional crunch that complements the grainy texture so well. You don’t want to stuff your face with square after square because there is no added fat to manipulate your body. Instead you can nibble away at a fantasically rich and textured treat and yes, you will want more, but because it’s simply so damn good.
You can buy Modica Chocolate online, including taster bars, but why bother with a sample? This isn’t just chocolate; it’s not even M&S chocolate. This is real chocolate.