Sicily is one of Italy's most appreciated destinations. The triangle-shaped island has got it all: nature, sea, mountains (volcanoes included), history, art and – of course – food; from the ‘surf and turf’ traditional cuisine to the scrumptious sweet treats, which deserve a separate discussion. Arab influences, ancient monastic recipes and excellent local products such as ricotta, citrus, honey and almonds are at the heart of the acclaimed Sicilian cakes and pastries, such as cannoli, cassate and marzapane. All over the island it's easy to find this kind of cake, with the occasional subtle variations in the different areas. But you need to go to Modica to taste and experience the unique local chocolate, which descends from ancient Aztec traditions and recipes.
The breathtaking city, built between the rocky top of a hill (Modica Alta) and a deep canyon-like valley (Modica Bassa), is not only considered the capital of Sicilian Baroque architecture and part of UNESCO Heritage Sites along with the surrounding Val di Noto area. Modica is also the capital of Sicilian chocolate.
In the seventeenth century, the Spanish brought with them the tradition of eating exotic products imported from the Americas. Local noble families were happy to indulge, but it’s thanks to the nuns – who always prepared exquisite cakes and pastries in the seclusion of the cloistered convents of the islands – that the ancient recipe of Modican chocolate, with its peculiar taste and rough texture, has been handed down over the years.