The origin of Sicilian chocolate lays in South America. The Aztecs prepared a drink based on cocoa beans. It was bitter and spicy. And served as medicine. Spanish conquistadores somehow took interest and added it to the looting list.
Back in Spain, with added sugar, the drink made its name. No longer as medicine, but as a delicacy.
More Spanish occupation
The Spanish occupied Sicily for almost two centuries. From 1516 to 1713. Long enough to leave a sign. Still admirable are the baroque buildings all over the island. Big cities received a Spanish urban planning. And new ingredients were introduced. Among which cocoa beans.
Monasteries on the east coast got experimenting, with success.
Sicilian chocolate in Modica
The Sicilian chocolate from Modica is a proto-chocolate. At least, it is different from how we know it today. The process occurs at 40 degrees. Therefore the sugar crystals don’t melt. And the chocolate results coarse and crumbly.
Only in the 1880 two big names come up with the conching technique: Lindt and Nestlè. The chocolate was heated for hours so cocoa butter and sugar perfectly melt.
More chocolate from Modica
The city of Modica has a rich pastry tradition. And a slightly awkward one too. The ‘mpanatigghi biscuits are truly particular. The story goes nuns invented them. Nothing special its seems. Shortcrust pastry enveloping a mix of Sicilian chocolate, almonds and cinnamon. With the adding of minced meat.
The nuns served them during lent to local preaching monks. In lent, when meat consumption was prohibited. In order to give them that extra energy.
Today the biscuits are as popular as ever.
What's so good about Sicilian chocolate?
The purity and historicity make Sicilian chocolate a must-try. The eating takes you on trip to the past. To a simpler, more genuine taste.
Structure and taste wise this product is unique. And the adding of orange, cinnamon or chilli pepper only increase that sensation.