I’m a day or so behind. As I write this on my beach front terrace, with water lapping at the groin and another clear blue sky, the local church bells are ringing and I am still dreaming about the places Carmel has taken us over the last couple of days. Modica – is a world heritage site. Why have we never heard of it? In your mind as a little girl, you dream of fanciful places, of palaces that belong in a fairy tale – and here they are – a whole town full of pretty baroque buildings, hugging escarpments and hill sides like a pasted collage.
Modica is also known for its chocolate and we visit a beautiful little chocolate factory and watch chocolate being shaken. It was such a simple light bulb moment. How does chocolate get its glossiness? Little tins of chocolate are placed in a large wooden tray. (The process I’m sure hasn’t changed for hundreds of years). They are shaken, the tray rolled back and forward in a rhythmic fashion until the gravelly surface of the chocolate has literally disappeared. The surface has become mirror-like. As well as have the opportunity to taste and purchase….who wouldn’t when there are varieties infused with orancia (orange) and limone (lemon), chilli and vaniglia (vanilla)?
Outside a group of German tourists wait for us to depart. They are annoyed because they have to wait and wonder when we are going to leave. They go and come back, and someone says (in German), ‘When are they going to leave, the English group is slow!’ At least we have graduated from Americanos. I was sitting on a seat outside and the tour leader of the German group asked me to move for an elderly lady who appeared from behind the group with walking sticks. I replied in English that I was sorry I didn’t see her and got up immediately. I went over a minute or so later and said, Es tut mir leid, sind wir langsam. Aber wir wunschen viele Shockolade! (I’m sorry we are slow. But we want lots of chocolate). She had that look on her face, as if to say. Oh, no- you’ve understood what we’ve been saying! (Well, I got the gist of some of it) I wish I spoke Italian! I want to learn when I get back. The Italians are so lovely when you try. They are not at all condescending. Although in Rome, they slowed down and enunciated everything clearly. Here in Sicily, it’s like a Franco Cozzo ad on steroids.