Anne's Blog

Sicilian Thirst-Quencher: La Granita

Date: August 30, 2011 - categories: , - 1 Comment

<em>Granita di limone</em>, best thirst-quencher

Granita di limone, best thirst-quencher

Arab influences are strong in Sicily, from the architecture to the sweets, from the underground Arab acqueducts of Palermo to the granulated-ice dessert, la granita. The Arabs brought their sherbert to Sicily, an iced drink flavored with fruit juices or rosewater. In the Middle Ages, the nevaroli – “ice-gatherers” – had the important task of conserving the snow of Mt. Etna and other mountain ranges in stone depositories built over grottoes, natural ones and man-made ones. The nobility bought the mounds of ice during the sizzling summer months, mixing in the juice of the island’s lemons with grated ice to make a perfect thirst-quencher – and thus the granita was born.

Later, juices of different fruits were added and sometimes, edible flowers. Palermo is still today best known for its granita di limone, while the granita di café
and strawberry granita with whipped cream reign in the Messina area. Bronte – not far from Mount Etna – area is famed for its pistachios and la granita di pistacchio. Catania lays claim to the minnulata or the toasted almond granita (where some bitter almonds are an essential ingredient), topped with a splash of espresso – but le granite of Avola, Siracusa and Agrigento, all almond areas, are not to underestimated.

<em>Granita di fragola con panna</em> is a tempter....

Granita di fragola con panna is a tempter....

La granita was sometimes accompanied by crusts of fresh bread, over time replaced by la brioscia, a soft yeasty roll, split open and filled with granita – (Sicilians love gelato this way, too). La brioscia con granita can be a revitalizing breakfast on a hot Siclian morning. Traditionally served in deep glass dushes, granite nowadays are often served in plastic cups da passeggio, for evening strolls with friends round the town piazza on hot summer nights.

Nowadays, the array of granite reflects the myriad flavors of Sicily: tangerine, mint, pomegranate, prickly pear, peach, tiny wild strawberries, winter melon, hazelnut, dark chocolate, pistachio and jasmine. It’s always tough to zero in on a favorite granita flavor: Limone is a winner on a blistering hot Sicilian day but then again, no one makes an espresso like the Sicilians – or therefore una granita di café con panna.

Best granite this trip? La granita di mandorla at the Bar Sabrina on the island of Ustica was a winner: I had one every day after lunch.
At a café at San Vito Lo Capo, on Sicily’s western coast, I tried una granita di gelso nero (black mulberry) for the first time. Buonissima!
We often make the 1-1/2 hour drive from Palermo to San Vito just to swim off that spectacular stretch of coast.
<em>Granita di Gelso Nero</em>

Granita di Gelso Nero

I’d make the drive again just for that granita di gelso nero.

Click here to read more about Sicily’s culinary traditions

Click here to read about the island of Ustica (including its food specialties!)
Click here to read about an Ustica treasure

Click here to read about a Mt. Etna trip (and the pistachio area of Sicily – recipe, too!)

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Privacy Policy

Privacy Italian Legislative Decree n° 196/2003 Under Article 13 of the Italian Legislative Decree no. 196/2003, regulations with regard to the Protection of Personal Data, this is an informative report to all interested parties on the modality of the treatment of personal data, arising from interaction with our website
THE PRINCIPAL FOR DATA TREATMENT During site consultation, personal data referring to identified or identifiable persons can be processed. The principal for data treatment is Anne Robichaud Pian della Pieve Assisi 06081 (PG) Italy. The data will be mainly processed at the mentioned head office by the people responsible for the website or by other people appointed for occasional maintenance operations, provided that their actions conform to of the guarantees enshrined in the Legislative Decree 196/2003.
Web navigation The information systems and software procedures required for the functioning of this website, acquire some personal data during their normal service, the transmission of which is implicit in the use of web communication protocols. This information is not collected with the purpose of identifying interested parties, but due to its very nature, the information could lead to user identification through processes and relations with data held by third parties. In this data category there are IP addresses or domain names belonging to computers used by users who connect to the site, addresses with URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) notification of the requested resources, time of the request, used method in submitting the request to the server, dimension of the file obtained in replying, the numeric code mentioning the reply status given by the server (successful reply, error, etc?) and other parameters referred to the operation system and to the user’s information environment. This data is used with the sole purpose of obtaining anonymous statistical information on the use of the site and to check the correct functioning; immediately after processing, the data is erased.
Data voluntarily supplied by the user The voluntary optional and explicit e-mail transmission to the addresses mentioned in this site implies the subsequent acquisition of the sender’s address, necessary to reply to the queries, as well as the other eventual personal data registered in the message.
OPTIONAL PERSONAL DATA SUPPLY Except for the above mentioned navigation data, the user may be asked to supply his own personal data through queries or messages to the email addresses shown in the contact pages. Failure to provide such data may be the cause of the inability to obtain the requested information from the company.
TREATMENT MODALITY The personal data is treated in compliance with the Legislative Decree no. 196/2003 and held only for the time necessary to achieve the aim for which it has been collected. Specific safety measures are taken to prevent any data loss, illicit or incorrect use and unauthorized access.
RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES The data subjects are at any time entitled to obtain confirmation as to whether or not data relating to him are held, to know the contents and the origin, to check the correctness, to ask for integration, updating or change (art. 7 Decree Law 196:June 2003). In accordance with the same article, they are entitled to obtain the erasure, conversion into anonymous form or freezing of all data used in breach of the law, to object, on legitimate grounds, to the processing of data relating to him. All requests have to be transmitted to the e-mail address

Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)