High up in the Highblean mountains in Southern Sicily, rich in history and steeped in ancient architecture sits the Modica. Nestled next to St. George’s Cathedral is a chocolate shop. But this is not just any chocolate shop. This is Sabadì, a brand founded by Veronian Simone Sabaiani. Infused with intense aromas such as Donato Lemon and Sri Lankan Chili, Sabadì chocolate evokes the same passion and respect for high quality produce that is so synonymous with Sicilian culture. MiND Magazine was fortunate to meet Simone and extensively discuss the organic chocolate brand. Insightful and profound, he divulges to us about its beginnings, the store’s unusual setting and the reason behind the swallows that adorn the store’s historic interior…
Why did you decide to open the store?
SIMONE SABAIANI: I decided to open Sabadì because I finally found a space that is Sabadì. I never thought to open a shop in Modica because it is so touristy but I stumbled upon this place next to St. George’s Cathedral, high above the main street. It’s in the Noble Palace of 1700 AD, with high ceilings. We respected the original architecture as much as we were able to. We kept the old, Sicilian pavement in black for example. On entering, it seems like you are walking down the aisle of a church, it’s very impressive. In the center there is an important table, 7x140m long in chestnut wood where we display the products. We only use organic materials, so there is a lot of iron, stone, wood and tar. It’s more of a showroom than a shop. It’s not commercial. It’s a space where I can experiment my philosophy. The room next door is an office, a cultural association called LUI, for a bird that does things differently, a bit like how people live in Sicily.
Why did you put swallows and written phrases in the ceiling?
SIMONE SABAIANI: For me the swallows represent freedom. The words written are ‘beauty’ and ‘time’. Freedom represents the swallows because fly freely in the sky and come in and out of the shop whenever they like. They do whatever they want and that’s what I love about them.
“We seek the best raw materials (in all senses), we let them talk, sometimes in agreement, often in contrast, but always offering them to you as the earth gave them to us: distinct, rich in aromas and fragrant” .
How did you choose the name Sabadì?
SIMONE SABAIANI: It expresses my quality of life. I decided to come and live here because for me this land brings me all the values that are synonymous with the quality of life in Sicily. The search of beauty and time and to enjoy this beauty. Sabadì is a day of the week that doesn’t exist, it’s imaginary, the day that everyone should have for us to understand the important things in life and the things that aren’t.
“We make an upright chocolate that excuses no cheats. We cold work it, in the traditional way, preserving all the exceptional properties and aromas of cocoa . A chocolate amazingly aromatic and persistent”.
Will you ever go back to live in Verona?
SIMONE SABAIANI: It was difficult to come to Sicily. Coming here I followed a path of self-deconstruction. I feel free now. I could take a step towards the freedom but I could not go back to where I was before.
Do you think you will open more shops?
SIMONE SABAIANI: No, not now. For me Sabadì is the only one. I have other projects for the area of Modica which are magical and fantastic. But so far Sabadì does not have any future projects. There’s also the fact that I must protect the LUI association. This part of Sicily is where residents are most sensitive, where people have a natural rhythm in life, unspoiled by actions and words.