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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Chocolate from Modica

One of the great things about being able to travel through Italy is the chance to stop and taste/experience the local cuisine and the local specialties. In Modica, the specialty is chocolate and sweets. Torino is famous for its gianduja, a silky and velvety chocolate made with hazelnut paste. However, the chocolate in Modica is famous for its tradition. It’s a tradition that was handed down from the Aztecs to the Spanianards and then to Sicilians as Sicily was controlled by the Spanish from the 13th to 15th centuries.

I have never tasted the Aztecs chocolate but we managed to sample a bit of chocolate from Modica. I was quite surprised by the texture of the chocolate. It was very grainy and made without milk, nothing like the gianduja I was used to eating in Torino but still wonderful. In fact, I was disappointed that I did not get to sample Modica’s famous hot chocolate. (I should mention it was August and about 36 degrees C outside.)

I did however have a very usual sweet, a little turnover that looked like a tiny empanada called mpanatigghia (mm-pan-na-tee-gee-yah). The lady in the sweet shop said I absolutely had to try this little delicacy, I took a bit and chewed, swallowed and told her I tasted sugar, cinnamon, chocolate and something else I could not put my finger on, orange peel?

“No” she said. “E’ carne di manzo.”

“Wow” I was surprised.

I never expected beef to show up in a sweet confection. I ran out to the car to give Deme a taste and even he was stumped. I snatched up five chocolate bars of various flavors and began to think about how to use them.


Another wonderful treat, torrone. I love this torrone because it is simple, almonds, a bit of sugar and some orange essense. Delicious! (Most torrone I have eaten more like nougat with egg whites and nuts.)


Here is just a small sampling of the wonderful variety of flavored chocolate bars you can find in Modica. (From top to bottom: anise, hot pepper/chili, coffee and cinnamon.) I ate the one with ginger in it right when I got home.


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5 Comments:

At 12:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooooh look at the chocolate! Gimme chocolate gimme chocolate nooowwwww!

 
At 10:28 AM, Anonymous H. (aka. NC_State_gal) said...

I absolutely love Aztec chocolate. It tastes simply delicious in warm drink form. When I lived and studied in Mexico, I used to drink it even on warm days. It is such a delicacy and I had no clue that in history that form of chocolate was brought to Italy. Interesting.

 
At 10:28 AM, Anonymous H. (aka. NC_State_gal) said...

I absolutely love Aztec chocolate. It tastes simply delicious in warm drink form. When I lived and studied in Mexico, I used to drink it even on warm days. It is such a delicacy and I had no clue that in history that form of chocolate was brought to Italy. Interesting.

 
At 7:38 AM, Blogger Stelle In Italia said...

i want some of the cannella chocolate! that is very weird about the beef, though. :)

 
At 5:20 PM, Blogger midnightbunny said...

Oh my goodness, I would love to try the Modica in pepper/chili. We have had a similar hot chocolate here (not in bar form), that was called a "Mexican Cocoa", and it was excellent.

 

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