When you visit Sicily in the summertime, you get granita. It's simply the way.
Granita, as a recipe, is an incredibly simple treat - but it is so much more than a few ingredients. Granita isn't just a recipe for dessert, but an intrinsic piece of culture in Sicily.
Granita goes back thousands of years - think ancient Mesopotamia. In these ancient times, there was once an occupation titled "nevarolu" - this was a person who traveled to Mount Etna to gather snow, and would conserve it in cold caves year-round. When summer rolled around, Sicilians would purchase this harvested icey snow to turn into a tasty treat. This was the blueprint for modern-day granita, and after many iterations through thousands of years, it became what it is today.
An Unlikely Pairing
In Sicily, granita is not enjoyed all by itself - it's almost always consumed with an accompanying bun of fluffy brioche (and the brioche buns have a bun of their own: a little ball on top of the dough called a tuppo in reference to the low-bun hairstyle popularized by Sicilian women).
Take a scoop of granita, dollop it on a ripped-off chunk of brioche bread, and eat. It just works - trust us!
Not Just Dessert
While we might consider an icey treat like this to be the perfect after-dinner sweet, that's not when granita is traditionally enjoyed. In summers, it's an incredibly common breakfast item, but can be acceptably eaten at any time of day as a snack or meal of its own.
Where To Get One
It's easy to find granita and brioche just about everywhere in Sicily, but these are a few of the locations we highly recommend.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 125, 96017 Noto SR, Italy
Corso Italia 306, 95129 Catania
Via di Giovanni 45, 98039, Taormina, Sicily Italy