Granita is iced water flavoured with sugar and fruit juice, however, the true Sicilian granita is so much more than ice. The most popular – and traditional – flavours in Sicily are lemon, almond or black mulberry.
The most traditional is usually drunk along with a brioche with a round button on its top, called tuppa. So, when you come to Siracusa, make sure to order a granita c’a brioshia, in Sicilian for breakfast. Yes, the true granita from Sicily must be tasted only at breakfast and in the hottest days of summer.
History of Sicilian Granita
As many other Sicilian traditional dishes, granita also has Arabs roots. In fact, the Arabs invented the sherbeth (sorbet), an iced dessert made with the ice from the mounts Etna, Nebrodi and Iblei. As ingenious people the Arabs were, in winter, they collected the ice formed on top of these mountains to be used in summer as a refreshment. Since the beginning, the ice was scratched and mixed with lemon juice, other fruits and rose water. Fast forward to the Middle Age, and snow was then stored in deep holes into the soil and covered with volcanic ash. in order to reuse it in summer. The perfect Sicilian granita is not solid and not even liquid, but creamy. In fact, in the XVI Century, a wood barrel called pozzetto was used to avoid the creation of ice lumps which anticipated the use of ice cream maker in the XX century.
Recipe of the authentic Sicilian granita
Sicilian granita is extremely easy to be made at home. The only thing that really makes the difference is that you need to make sure to get fresh and tasty fruit.
- water 500ml
- sugar 200ml
- lemon juice 500ml
Melt a bit of sugar in a bit of boiling water. Then, turn the flame off and cool the mixture. Add the lemon juice and freeze in the freezer. In order to give it a creamy consistency, make sure to stir it every 30 minutes.
After three hours, you can serve your granita lemon. You can season your traditional Sicilian granita with mint leaves for an extra touch of freshness.
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