Chocolicious Modica!

Maybe the last thing that comes to mind when thinking of Italy is the Aztecs – but, in one of Italy’s many peculiarities and well-kept secrets, the Sicilian town of Modica is famous for Aztec chocolate. Back in the past, Aztecs ground the cocoa beans with a metate to make cocoa powder and mixed it with spices such as allspice and vanilla, a technique that Sicilians mimicked using metates made from volcanic stone from Mount Etna’s volcanic stone.
Rather than consuming the resulting cocoa paste as a bitter, spiced drink as the Aztecs did, Sicilians mixed it with sugar, added flavours that were common on the island such as pistachios or lime oil, and formed the resulting paste into bars. The secret to Aztec-style chocolate is a method called cold-working, wherein the chocolate and sugar are never melted and kept under 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) This method preserves flavour and nutrients and imparts a grainy texture into the final product.
Modern producers of the specialty chocolate such as the Bonajuto family, who run Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, use modern machinery rather than a metate, but still only use three ingredients- cocoa, sugar and flavourings (lemon oil, sea salt, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon and chili are common). Once the chocolate is ground and mixed with sugar to form a paste, it is transferred into molds, where it is pounded and set into solid pieces.
As the only place in the world that still makes Aztec-style chocolate, Modica has several outlets for visitors to buy the unique products. Modica chocolate is rich, dark and crumbly, produced in a traditional method imported from the New World by Sicily’s Spanish overlords. It can be melted, or eaten solid. The most famous chocolate-maker is the Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, but there are several other good manufacturers in town. The traditional flavours are vanilla and cinnamon, but you’ll find all kinds of flavours nowadays, including chili pepper and sea salt. There are free samples available in the town’s shops and it is easy to turn a tour of Modica into a gastronomic pilgrimage.
It is suggested that you hire a car and tour around to sample the choicest chocolate from the chocolate makers around. You could carry some home for your friends and your family while you are at it. Hiring a car can be a piece of cake with Car Rental Italy’s easy and economic hire options and you can request a quote online and see for yourself how economical and convenient a car hire can be. Car Rental Italy has on offer a wide variety of cars to cater to your individual needs from 2 door economy cars to 9 seat Minivans, automatic transmission cars and much more to enjoy your chocolicious holiday!

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