All started during the Arabs domination around the IX-XI centuries, when Sicilians found out and adopted the concept of “sherbet” from the Arabs, a sweet and iced drink made of water and fruits, and transformed it into the currently known granita.
Starting from the Middle Ages, thanks to the “nivaroli”, granita’s production started. Nivaroli’s job was to gather the snow on Etna and Sicilian mountains (Peloritani, Iblei, Nebrodi) and store it all year long in some caves in order to move it to seaside locations. Etna’s snow was well stored in specific private houses; later, it was “scratched” and used for the preparation of sorbets and ice creams. Over time, they found out that the snow could be used together with the marine salt as an expedient for refrigerating. So, the gathered snow shifted from an ingredient to a refrigerant.
Which flavor are you?
Granita is composed of simple ingredients, as long as they are seasonal, fresh and km 0. Therefore, the melt-in-your-mouth effect is guaranteed in the first place by the quality of products. Next to the classic lemon, chocolate, or coffee granita – usually accompanied by a dallop of whipped cream, you can’t miss the other variants: almond granita is typical of Syracuse, the pistacchio or mulberry granita is typical of Catania, the jasmine granita is typical of Messina, the prickly pear granita is typical of the Aeolian Islands.
Lots of elbow grease to create a masterpiece
Granita’s preparation is a slow and laborious process that requests great artisan abilities. Water, sugar, and aromas are mixed and later on put together in a flat container inside a freezer. While freezing, the blend is gently mixed every 30-45 minutes to create the unmistakable crystalline and granular consistency. In fact, the granita must be eaten with a little spoon, not drunk. At this point, granita is Sicily’s iconic signature, and it is celebrated every year by the Festival Nivarata, organized in Acireale ever since 2012.
Top 9 Locations in which you can enjoy granita
Sicilian granita is not only art for those who produce it, but it’s above all a slow ritual for those who taste it. Numerous bars and ice cream shops almost compete to propose their variants with their own traditions that make one-of-a-kind taste, presenting a unique offer.
Among the best places in the province of Catania where you can taste granita, we suggest:
- Bar la Timpa – Santa Maria La Scala
- Bar Musumeci – Randazzo
- Cliv – Canalicchio
- Bar Alecci – Gravina di Catania
- Caffe Solaire – Acitrezza
- Savia – Catania city center
- Terra2 – Canalicchio
- Caffè Cipriani – Acireale
- Bar Kennedy – Acireale