The Granita (Eng)

Many are the places frequented by young people on weekends but also on weekdays, and many are also the typical products of the Sicilian tradition. In this section we want to introduce you to the most loved and known ones, furthermore we want to explore with you the reasons behind these phenomena …
Today’s protagonist:
Catania, like all places in Sicily, even the most remote ones, offers a wide range of dishes to try.
Each real Sicilian is longing to the first warm months of the year. Just enough rain and cold, just good weather. And what’s better than something fresh to accompany the hot and sultry hours? Just one of the most loved foods in Sicily: the granita.
Much loved by Sicilians and foreigners, granita has always been considered a must-to-try in the Sicilian tradition. Fresh, thirst-quenching and refreshing is the icon of the Sicilian summer, and beyond. The granita is unrivalled. In the middle of August, or even in the first days of spring, a good Sicilian cannot say ‘no’ to a nice breakfast consisting of granita and brioche. Many times, especially during the warmer months, this actually replaces lunch.
Granita, sweet cold spoon, is a compound semi-frozen liquid prepared with water and sugar.
The granita secret lies in its ingredients, the lemons from South and typically Sicilian pastries (brioche) that complete the dish. The origin of the granita is attributable to the Messina area at the time of Arab domination. The recipe comes from the preparation of an Arabic drink: the sherbet, fruit juice flavored with rose water and then frozen, which the Sicilians learned during the era of Arab colonisation of the island.
Traditionally, granita is prepared using the snow gathering on Mount Etna in Sicily or on other mountains like Nebrodi, Peloritani and Iblei. The preserved snow turned into ice and during the summer gathered hashing the surface of the ice sheets formed and adding salt to keep the temperature low. Later came the “cockpit”, which could be turned with a crank whose movement prevented the formation of ice crystals too large allowing the traditional texture of real Sicilian granita.
Depending on the area there are numerous variations of the Sicilian granita. Besides traditional lemon granita, indeed, you can find the classic almond, chocolate, coffee and the most sought pistachio. Cities also love to those fruity flavours such as peach, strawberry, mulberry trees. Over the years the almond and that the mulberry trees have been included in the list of traditional Sicilian food products. All granitas are strictly accompanied by the inseparable soft brioche.
Written by Grazia Milazzo
Photos by Giorgio Caudullo

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