Modica is one of Italy’s jewels, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its architectural beauties and artisanal chocolate workshops.
Until the end of the 1940s, the city’s economy was based on agriculture and livestock farming. The pastures where Modicana cattle grazed were interspersed with cultivated fields divided by the dry-stone walls typical of the area. Olive and carob trees, often intercropped with wheat, were the most common plantings.
In this context, the Modica Cottoia Fava Bean was used to feed the cattle and rotated with cereal crops in the fields, as the legume could fix nitrogen in the soil.
In some of the surrounding villages, the bean was also widely used in the local cuisine. It was easy to cook, earning it the name “cottoia,” and farm laborers were given a daily ration of a “mezzo coppo,” corresponding to 500 grams of fava beans, cooked on their own or with vegetables.
The Modica Cottoia broad bean can be eaten fresh after it is harvested in late May, and is available dried all year round.