Global Gulp: Sicilian Granita

Da Alfredo’s whips up the ultimate treat to help beat the summer Sicilian heat

Sicily is the home of the granita.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Sicily is the home of the granita.

A Sicilian granita is a frosty beverage that is often imitated but rarely authentically duplicated.

The drink: Made by mixing fruit juice or other liquids like coffee, sugar, and ice, granitas are different from slushes and ices because as they freeze, the mixture is whisked at various intervals. The result is a colorful mound of granular ice crystals. Traditional flavors include lemon, coffee, and almond which are sold virtually year-round in Sicily, the birthplace of granitas. There are also seasonal fruit flavors.

The granita’s origins: For hundreds of years, granitas have been made in Italy, but they were first made in Sicily from the snow of Mount Etna. Juice was added to the ice to flavor it, and it soon became a breakfast staple, served alongside a brioche that is used to scoop up the dense icy mixture. Now the drink is enjoyed throughout the day with or without the brioche.

Who drinks granita: Designer Giorgio Armani and actor Sean Connery are rumored to be fans of Da Alfredo’s granitas.

Where to buy a granita: Shops all over Sicily serve it, but the best is Da Alfredo in Lingua on the island of Salina, which is located in the center of the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily. The tiny island was made famous as the setting for the Italian film Il Postino.

Visitors can dock their boats at the seafront granita bar, which is open from March to November, and indulge in a variety of granitas made by Alfredo and his sons. Flavors to try include granita al limone (lemon granita), made from the island’s lemons which are less acidic, granita al fragola con panna (strawberry granita with whipped cream), and granita al caffe (coffee granita). The family-run granita bar is at Piazza Marina Garibaldi, Lingua, 39 090 984 3075.

Not headed to Sicily anytime soon? Make your own watermelon and mint granita or mango rum granita,


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