[Sca-cooks] Sweet chocolate, Modican chocolate (OOP -- maybe)

Christiane christianetrue at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 27 06:38:15 PDT 2007

>I have a quibble here--- How could the Aztecs have been crushing
>cacao beans with sugar prior to the Europeans bringing sugarcane
>to the New World?

I should not say the basic recipe, but the basic technique. The Spanish got the technique for crushing the beans into paste with heated lava stones from the Aztecs; the addition of the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and other flavorings, of course, could only come when those ingredients were introduced by the Spanish. The Spanish had already known that the Aztecs often mixed the bitter chocolate paste with crushed dried chiles; this has lingered on with Modican chocolate, where you can obtain bars of "peperoncino" flavor, and Sicilians were pretty quick to adopt chiles in their own farms and gardens.

In Sicily, by 1600 the chocolate makers of Modica had access to everything they needed to make Spanish-style chocolate: the lava stones from Mount Etna needed to grind the cocoa beans, the cane sugar grown on the island since the days of Arab rule, and the imported spices. And most of all, the money and the noble and Church clientele and the taste for supersweet desserts.

Like Mexico, Modica has its own recipe for rabbit in chocolate sauce; but there are also strange pastries of lamb with chocolate. This was all due to the Spanish influence.


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