Finally, on October 15, the Chocolate of Modica was enrolled in the register of the European Official Journal as IGP. Let’s discover the history, benefits and peculiarities of this truly unique product of excellence in the world.
by Valentina Di Rosa
“The black gold” that the whole world envies to Modica, the city of the ancient County, obtained an important European recognition: the IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta – Protected Geographical Indication). A record that confirms not only the excellence of product, but above all protects it from imitations and counterfeit products from foreign markets. The counterfeiting not only deceives the consumer, but strongly damages real Modican chocolate and artisanal producers. For city of Modica it is a significant economic activity and a important source of employment. Chocolate of Modica is now equipped with a special European stamp that will certify its authenticity. Another tool is a Policy Document, regulating the preparation procedure and list of ingredients. Compliance with the rules set by the specification will be guaranteed by a control body.
But what makes this ancient chocolate exceptional? When was this tradition born? An ancient history links the Aztec civilization to Modica . During the years of domination in Sicily, the Spaniards introduced cocoa processing in the 16th century. The preparation procedure, as mentioned, dates back to the Aztecs.
The peculiarity of this excellent product is given by its processing that takes place totally cold: the cocoa mass is processed at about 40 – 45 °C, a procedure original and unique.
Cane or granulated sugar is added to the cocoa mass. The bitter cocoa paste must be present for an amount that should not be less than 50% and can reach up to 90%. Cocoa butter on the other hand can not be less than 25%. You can not miss the spices masterfully incorporated. The result is a rectangular-shaped tablet with a dark brown color. The chocolate is left to rest in a tin form. Each tablet must not weigh more than 100 grams. Form and color already reveal its identity, but the greatest impression is given to the palate by the granular consistency: the granules are crystals of sugar, remaining well present. This, because the sugar dissolves normally at 80 °C, instead Modica’s “black gold” is worked at 40 °C. For this reason, in Chocolate of Modica, sugar comes in crystals.
Over time, the machines used in production have been replaced. These, however, comply with the rules of the specification. The processing according to tradition takes place through a metate, an instrument used by pre-Columbian civilizations to work the seeds.
The main spices added to chocolate are cinnamon, vanilla, fennel citrus, nutmeg, jasmine, ginger, dried fruit and salt.
One aspect to consider for lovers is the benefits that this product and in particular the pure black one is able to bring to the body. Chocolate contains flavonoids; they are natural antioxidants, able to fighting cholesterol and to contain glucose or high blood pressure levels. It also acts positively on the cardiovascular system. However, it should not be abused in consumption. Another important benefit is the ability to give a slight euphoria. This is given by the presence of theobromine. So, chocolate is an excellent anti-stress. Studies also confirm benefits on cognitive abilities. Even pure black does not cause caries, but it prevents them. Furthermore, it is not responsible for the appearance of acne.
Modica dedicates an event to its chocolate, making it the undisputed protagonist. Every year in December, ChocoModica attracts visitors from all over the world. The event, that takes place in the historic center of the City, is the perfect opportunity to taste the chocolate declined in all its forms. From the traditional spicy tablet to the most exotic and imaginative one. You can taste chocolate liqueur or the tasty arancina. Appointments with workshops and exhibitions allow you to discover all the secrets of the “Food of Gods”.
Does anyone still have doubts about the goodness of this product that speaks so much of traditions and genuineness? In this case, our advice is to rely on your palate, letting yourself be
conquered by something unique in the world.