Travel back in time in Modica.

Modica chocolate
Credit: Photo by Leisa Tyler/LightRocket via Getty Images

The small towns of Sicily have long attracted visitors for their fresh seafood dishes, charming villas, and limestone cliffs.

An old, well-kept secret may bring even more people to the Italian island: Aztec-inspired chocolate. The small town of Modica in Sicily has been using centuries-old recipes to make some of the most unusual chocolate in the region, BBC reported.

During Spain’s rule of Sicily in the 16th century, conquistadores sent to Mexico brought back cacao and Aztec recipes for xocoàtl, a paste made by grinding with a smooth stone. These recipes were initially used to season main courses and other savory dishes in the region, according to the same report.

Since that time the chocolatiers have adapted their recipes to make chocolate bars and other treats, using stones from nearby Mt. Edna to make the xocoàtl. Locals even claim that their chocolate has special health benefits.

The town center of Modica is a UNESCO world heritage site and a town worth traveling for, even for those who are not chocolate lovers. Modica’s historic neighborhoods were placed on the world heritage list for their late baroque architecture, constructed after the earthquake of 1693.

The nearby island of Pantellaria, known as the “black pearl of the Mediterranean” is a great location for beaches, hot springs and other natural wonders.