The Ultimate Chocolate (but for real!) The Modica Chocolate
it's vegan, gluten free, lactose free but we didn't made it perfect like that on purpose!
Chiara Tribulato •
November 19, 2018
If two years ago you would have asked me what’s your favorite chocolate? I'd probably have told you "well, the creamiest plus most buttery one". The truth is that on second thought, the chocolate bars we use to eat, have all almost the same taste. Like, really the same.
But I have a secret: that's the “homologated-by-the-industry”, easy-pleasant, suitable-for-the-majority-of-people, deprived-of-its-own-“soul” chocolate’s taste (and I have more, but let me stop here) .
Am I actually saying that authentic-chocolate's taste depends on the cocoa beans used to make it? Yes, I am!
I honestly started wondering, Am I sure that the well-known cocoa properties (sometimes, my ready-to-go excuse to eat chocolate whenever I want) are still in there? How is it possible that all the dark chocolates have the same identical taste (I mean it, the same!)?
What you’re about to read is the freshest, most honest (not-too much/boring technical) answer to all these questions.
All started almost two years ago, while I and my co-founder were in Modica (my charming/tiny/I-suggest-to-visit hometown) looking for the best Modica Chocolate’s Maker. If you are wondering what is Modica Chocolate, it's a one-of-a-kind chocolate made in my tiny-town since the XVI century. We still use (it's been 500 years now!) an old-Aztec recipe brought by the Spaniards straight from Mexico to Sicily.
Let’s do some math. This means that, since Colombo (who was Italian by the way) discovered the Americas, we still make chocolate according to this recipe. (When I said that we stick with tradition I meant it!).
After all the morning meetings, we were pretty excited and we were almost sure about the maker we were going to choose. They all use the same recipe, the chocolate tasted all the same way. We thought, "let’s choose the coolest packaging, right?"
So I plugged my Android Phone (yes in Italy we use Android) into the car speakers and we were about to skip this last meeting. But we didn't!
I can promise that, since we crossed that nice/glass pastry's door, we have never ate industrial chocolate again (thanks Elvira!) and I’m going to explain why.
BEAN-TO-BAR | LESS-IS-BEST | UNREFINED
Bean to Bar. Our Chocolate Maker is the wise/sweet/empower Elvira. Her chocolate making process starts with the choice of the best cocoa premier cru selected from several plantations around the world.
Less is best. Through a strict artisanal routine, she wisely works the cocoa beans, one variety at a time. According to the old recipe, she adds only cane sugar (and a solid spice for the flavored bars). Two ingredients, that’s it. So, you can taste the actual flavor of every cocoa bean varietal. So, (please please please) forget the idea about chocolate you are used to. Chocolate is like wine, a lot of tasting notes and it keeps us healthy when it’s still as raw as possible.
We can proudly say that thanks to Elvira and our ‘Sicilian stubborn gene’ that wants us to stick with traditions, our chocolate has no Additional Cocoa Butter (you don’t need it, the cocoa beans already contain 55% of cocoa butter in it), no industrial cocoa mass, no vegetable fats, no emulsifiers. It’s how chocolate it’s supposed to be...Authentic!
Unrefined means more nutrients. The recipe to make the Modica Chocolate involves a Cold Process that doesn’t degrade the nutrients. Nutrients are very sensitive to high temperatures.
When you open this bars you may see some unaesthetic imperfections (as a white ‘cocoa butter’ bloom) and you should be happy about it! This is a natural phenomenon, a symptom of a minimal processing. In fact, this chocolate is not conched. Conching is an industrial process introduced to get the chocolate looks silky and smooth (with no white blooms). It can last a few hours up to six days. It affects the chemical structure of the chocolate. The result is a refined chocolate that looks beautiful but that has lost many important nutrients. Do you prefer to eat a good-looking chocolate or a GOOD chocolate?
My advice on how to experience this chocolate?
Well, now you know that you have the chance to taste an authentic flavor that hits you straight in a very ancient tradition that has linked many people from very different parts of our world. So I suggest to close your eyes, put a square of this unique chocolate in your mouth, munch it and focus on your sensations. You will feel a grainy texture and a bitter aroma. I'm sure your mind will focus on the unique Coarse Rough Ground Texture (due to the minimal and cold processing , basically the sugar doesn’t melt, so you feel it). Then the sweetness and all the tasting notes will tickle your taste buds! Try to stay focused and you’ll start to associate the flavors that you get with others that you’ve experienced already. A Sommelier does the same things (more or less).
The texture, the flavor, all the tasting notes. Chocolate is like a long journey, tricky to explain in a blog post. We cannot expect to become sommeliers just reading a book about wine. We need to practice.