Rich in history, the Hyblean territory is characterized by the beauty of its architectural heritage, particularly evident in the triumph of the Baroque-style sinuous limestone monuments. The city of Modica is part of the Unesco World Heritage. The historical centre is a maze of allays and staircases overlooked by buildings and churches: the majestic churches of St. Peter and St. George, seem to be true sculptures. In particular, St. George’s Cathedral, with its impressive and spectacular architectural design, is considered the city’s masterpiece.
The dome, which rises up to 36 meters, the imposing staircase of 164 steps, the front perspective enriched by a multi-level hanging garden, offer a stunning scenery which recalls the Spanish Steps in Rome. If you visit Modica, a taste of the typical “mpanatigghi” is a must! Just looking at them, anyone could guess that a tender filling of almonds, chocolate, sugar and flavours hides inside those bulging “mezzaluna” cookies. However, no one could imagine its most distinctive ingredient, mention of which, makes immediately people turn up their noses: the beef sirloin. Well yes!
The famous “mpanatigghi modicani”, typical biscuits of the city, contain flesh inside their stuffing. Anyway, overcoming the initial mistrust, and being attracted by their beautiful aspect, once tasted you are immediately tempted to take another and then another. Alternating between the tasting of a cup of chocolate and a walk through the baroque streets, tourists cannot renounce a stop in a bakery shop to buy such delicious cookies. Behind their old recipe there is a curious anecdote.
The story goes that in the past, during Lent, since Catholics used to abstain from eating meat, the Sisters, moved to pity for the Friars’ fatigues in continuous moving around to preach the Gospel, excogitated a way to hide minced meat inside the almond and chocolate filling of these cookies. Since biscuits were considered a low-fat food, their consumption was allowed even in the period of fasting. The great writer Leonardo Sciascia called them “travel biscuits” because their nutritional benefits and long-term preservation.
Pasticceria Casalindolci is the right place to taste them!