Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Granita: the summer holiday treat

Nothing beats an ice cream on a hot summer’s day...or does it? Gelato may grab all the attention, but there’s an equally delicious summertime treat Italians enjoy, and it’s called granita. 
Just like a snow cone, granita is based around the simple idea of freezing sugar, flavoring and water, but not letting it freeze solid. The result is a cool, slushy desert made from ice crystals, which can have a rough texture, or a very smooth one, depending on how much the mix is agitated during freezing. 
A key part of the appeal, apart from its affordability, is granita’s versatility. There’s an almost infinite number of flavor combinations you can create, depending on the liquid you freeze. Keep things traditional by adding a squirt of orange or lemon juice or more modern with cola or tea, or be adventurous with fresh mint or a secret ingredient of your own. 
In Sicily, things get even fancier, with bitter almonds a signature ingredient. Granita is not just regarded as a dessert. Across Italy, you’ll find it served alongside brioche at breakfast time, while a less sweet, savory version is often served between meals to help cleanse the palate. Have you tried granita yet?