The chocolate of Modica has roots going back almost 500 years. It was introduced to the island by the rulers of Sicily, the Aragonese. Originally flavored with spices and local herbs, the result of the processed cocoa bean was used for its healing properties. Soon, sugar was added for the first time and Modica chocolate was born. Still produced according to its centuries-old recipe, Modica chocolate is often flavored with spices such as vanilla, cinnamon and cayenne pepper; nuts, including pistachios, almonds and walnuts or fruit, such as orange.
One of the highlights of the Publisher’s Tour to Modica was an afternoon making chocolate at Casa Ciomod Fonderie. The artisanal nature of the factory was evident as soon as the group looked at the different flavors that are commercially produced. Some of the more unusual ones included chocolate flavored with extra virgin olive oil, wild thyme chocolate, chocolate with ginger bean and chocolate with jasmine.
The visit began with a tour of the factory and the history of Modica chocolate. Unlike many varieties of the chocolate consumed in America, Modica chocolate does not use cocoa butter or any dairy products. The result is a very deep and very intense flavor. At Casa Ciomod, all of the products used in the production of chocolate are from Sicily.
The laughter rarely stopped during the afternoon and once the chocolate bars had cooled, each were wrapped so they could be taken home as a memento.