Donna Elvira is the only delicatessen in Modica to produce handmade chocolate using the Bean to Bar method, a choice dictated by the desire to achieve a real increase in quality through a deeper and wider research work on the raw material.
Thanks to the possibility to carry out the entire transformation process in the laboratory, Elvira Roccasalva has finally obtained the possibility to process the rarest and most precious varieties of cocoa from all over the world.
Born in Modica almost twenty years ago from her personal passion for cooking, passed through the recovery of the handwritten recipes of the Sicilian convent pastry shop, Donna Elvira’s production philosophy has always had as a figure the most natural approach possible to the raw material, the study of the originality of traditions and the unique specificity of each of her desserts.
But it is to the production of Modica chocolate, according to the ancient recipe that arrived in Sicily from Central America during the Spanish domination, that Elvira Roccasalva has dedicated the highest specialization over time, through a fully artisan work that today characterizes all phases of the process.
The conversion to the Bean to Bar approach took place in the summer of 2016, when the production of single-origin bars also began, which today represent the backbone of Donna Elvira’s production, alongside the bars with the aromas of tradition: after the classic Venezuelan and Colombian cocoa, which is used as raw material for basic products, Donna Elvira has chosen Wild Beniano, the wild cocoa from Bolivia, the precious O’Payo from Nicaragua, seeds from Vietnam, Mexico, Papua New Guinea and the very rare Pure Nacional from Peru.
The production starts from the grinding phase of the seeds, just as in the past the noble Spanish and Modican families used to grind them on the ancient Metate (a kind of stone mortar). The semolina obtained from the passage of the seeds in the cocoa mill, reaches a few meters after the small millstone, which dissolves it in the cocoa liquor, and then passes into the tempering machine and finally into the bars, with the addition of sugar according to the rules of the production regulations of Modica Chocolate, which recently also obtained the PGI mark.
A few years ago we radically transformed the production process of our chocolate, inaugurating an integral Bean to Bar chain: from the cocoa bean to the chocolate bar.
It is only when the circle closes, I think, that a chocolatier can feel like a true artisan.
And every time, from this process, we learn something new about this extraordinary raw material.