Italians love chocolate. Ask a Sicilian and they’ll tell you that Modica, a village in southeastern Sicily, is the place to go for the best version of the dark-colored delicacy. For a Tuscan, the go-to chocolate makers are the Steiners. But in the capital, Rome, it is “Trappist” chocolate that takes it all. Trappist monks started to produce chocolate bars, jams and digestifs in the 1880s and their iconic products are now an inextricable part of Rome’s gastronomic identity.
In 1883, Pope Leo XIII called a delegation of Trappist monks to Rome to grant them the custody of the Catacombs of Saint Callisto. Shortly after settling in the capital, the monks started to manufacture chocolate products that proved very popular with locals. Trappist monks mainly used cacao beans imported from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru and Uganda, and followed a secret recipe that has never been revealed to this day.
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