2 days in Modica, Sicily
The last stop of our Amalfi-Sicily holiday was Modica, a pretty special place for me. It is from this little Sicilian town that my great-grand-father's side of the family originally came from, before they migrated to Tunisia, then to France.
I don't have any close relatives left there - or not that I know of, but visiting Sicily and especially this little village had a particular meaning for me.
We had two days to visit the place, which was more than enough as Modica is actually quite small.
We parked our car on the main street and didn't touch it for two days. We walked everywhere, enjoying lovely weather and mild temperatures in the early days of May.
Where to stay
We stayed in an Airbnb in Modica basso, on Via Ritiro, a small side street located by the Corso Victor Emmanuel. Our lovely little apartment boasted a quiet terrace overlooking the street where we loved sitting down for breakfast and before going out for dinner.
The place was quiet, comfortable and perfectly located. After two days, we really felt at home there. Like in our Palermitan Airbnb, we had a great coffee machine at our disposal and the owners left us a lovely tray of local fresh almond biscuits - a delightful treat that we particularly appreciated with our state of the art espresso.
What to do
Modica is famous for its traditional chocolate production. If you like Cadbury dairy milk, you won’t enjoy the local chocolate as it is dark and doesn’t contain any milk, only cacao, sugar and flavouring.
Albeit succinct, the Chocolate Museum, hidden inside the Palazzo della Cultura, is worth a quick stop (which will cost you €2.50) to learn a bit about the history of chocolate in Modica, before heading to one of the many chocolate shops where you will be able to try some tasty products.
We bought some amazing tablets by Ciomod from the Bottega Sicula shop, just across the street from the Museum.
The famous Duomo San Giorgio attracts tourists and groups of students from all over Sicily for its baroque style.
Sitting at the top of Modica Alta, this church is certainly worth climbing all the steps that separate it from the main road.
Where to eat
After our fantastic experience in Caffe Sicilia in Noto, Modica had a lot to live up to, and yet we were quite impressed by the general food offering we got to try in the small Sicilian town.
An essential part of our diet after 4 days in Sicily, we had to find the best cannoli in town. We tried some delicious ones at Arte del Cioccolato, which reminded me of the ones that my grand-mother makes, but our favourite ones came from Bonajuto, the most famous chocolate and sweet shop in Modica, open since 1880.
We ate some delicious pizza at La Contea, and a fabulous sandwich at Accursio Radici, an authentic street food workshop located in front of the eponymous Michelin star restaurant. They serve local specialities, such as arancine, sfincione or caponata.
When we stumbled upon it, we felt like sharing something simple and our parma ham and mozzarella sandwich with pesto sauce made to order was incredibly satisfying.
La Locanda del Colonnello undoubtedly delivered the most impressive meal of our stay. Hidden in a small alley in Modica Alta, this eatery offers a modern and elegant take on Sicilian food. Their version of spaghetti con le sarde, pasta with sardines, a classic of Sicilian cuisine, comes with a wild fennel sauce, while the fish is fried to add a crispy touch to the dish. Obviously, the pasta is cooked al dente.
After a surprising and incredibly tasty mise en bouche resembling a sushi (one of the chefs is Japanese, we heard) and a basket of bread served with the most amazing local DOP olive oil, we shared an entree of deep fried octopus, crispy on the outside and perfectly tender on the inside, with cannelli beans and roasted lemon.
Alongside the spaghetti with sardines, we tried the basil potato ravioli with mussels, served in a broth of coconut milk giving an interesting Asian touch to the dish.
For dessert, we shared a lemon custard with strawberries and roasted almonds, tastefully balanced between the tartness of the custard, the sweetness of the strawberries and the crunchiness of the almonds.
Also noticeable is their well-sourced wine list, which Damien took full advantage of ordering a glass of orange wine and a 1987 Marsala dessert wine. The bill came to 75 euros - including 30 euros of wine, which for the quality of the meal definitely makes this place a must during a visit in Modica.
One afternoon, we stumbled upon an ice-cream shop which looked quite nice but that we hadn’t particularly pinpointed beforehand. We tried three gelato flavours (for €2.50): fondente (which was an ultra dark chocolate), hazelnut and stracciatella. The three scoops tasted absolutely delicious but I will remember the dark chocolate as probably the best ice-cream I have ever tasted, so intense, so satisfying, yet not sickening, and the other flavours complimented it perfectly. Do not miss Latteria if you come to Modica.
Before flying back home, we went for a quick visit into Catania, and got to try an arancino from Savia, a century old cafe in the centre of the city which totally deserved a trip. We went for the ragu flavour, wisely advised by the waiter, and thoroughly enjoyed this ball of fried rice stuffed with tomato, cheese and beef sauce.
These ten days in Italy and Sicily couldn't have been more fun, tasty, joyful and fulfilling. No other destination could have made us feel happier.