What better way to spend a sunny afternoon than to sample some of the world’s best chocolate! We are now in the beautiful town of Modica where chocolate is king. What makes chocolate of Modica so unique? A brief history review will help: in medieval times the Spanish invaded and dominated Sicily and brought with them cocoa beans from South America as well as the recipe created by the Aztecs to produce this wonderful grainy and aromatic chocolate.
We had the privilege of visiting and touring the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily – Dolceria Bonajuto. Founded in 1880, the storefront is like an old style apothecary with dark wood cabinets with products displayed behind glass cabinets and on shelves behind an old antique cash register. Behind the counter is the window into the kitchen where the magic happens. After being gowned and capped like hospital patients, we were invited by Beatrice into the kitchen to observe how their chocolate is made.
She explained that the only ingredients are hand ground cocoa beans and sugar – no dairy. They warm the ground beans and then add the sugar but never overheat the mixture causing the sugar to remain granular giving this chocolate its particular texture. Known as “cold working”, this production method preserves more flavours and nutrients of the chocolate than modern methods. They may add a single flavour such as ginger, orange, sea salt to their chocolate or simply sell it as is.
After our demonstration we were invited to sample some of the delicacies that Dolceria Bonajuto has to offer. This chocolate is truly unique, it is sumptuous and rich with that grainy texture to make it even more interesting. It is neither sweet nor bitter but simply gorgeous!