Follow Swide on a journey that will bring you to all the sweet delicacies produced in the Bel Paese. We’ll start with Italian sweet from the South: Granita Siciliana.
Italian Pastry Shop:
The Italian pasticceria is found on almost every corner in every city in Italy, they are purveyors of pastries, sweets, desserts and all things good. Swide shares with you traditional italian recipes and where you can buy the best dolce in Italy. This month, in the height of the summer heat, Swide brings you the sweet-flavoured ice, Granita Siciliana.
If I had to recall a first memory of Sicily in the middle of August, when I visited it, I would say immediately Granita Siciliana. Before arriving – a Milanese girl in visit to her best friend, many years ago – it surprised me to hear that they ordered this delicacy at breakfast (read about other traditional italian breakfasts here). Well, it didn’t surprise me anymore when I woke up to 42° C degrees (true story). But what is it and how to replicate it at home?
Granita, a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings was born in Sicily and although it spread out all over Italy, the real one is only to be found here as it has a coarser, more crystalline texture not to be found anywhere else.
The origins trace back to the arab conquerors who brought with them the sherbet, the sorbet, once flavored of rose water. Later on snow from Etna was used instead of grate dice and granita became popular in the early 20th Century.
Common and traditional flavoring ingredients include lemon juice, mandarin oranges, jasmine, coffee, almonds, mint, strawberries but also black mulberries. Chocolate is also common. The nuances of the Sicilian ingredients are important to the flavor of the finished granita: Sicilian lemons are a less acidic, more floral variety similar to Meyer lemons, while the almonds used contain some number of bitter almonds, crucial to the signature almond flavor.
Granita in Sicily is served in combination with a yeast pastry called brioche (watch out, Sicilian brioche is generally flatter and wider than the French version and of different consistency).
Catania is supposed to be very good for granite: try the Caffé Europa (Corso Italia 302), one of the most historical bars in the city, or the Cioccolato Caffè (Via Ruggero di Lauro 129/131/133) with a beautiful view over the sea. In Messina, head to Bar Pasticceria Irrera (Piazza Cairoli, 12). In Taormina order granita at Gelatomania (Corso Umberto, 7). In Noto, make sure to stop by at Caffè Sicilia (Corso V. Emanuele, 124) – and try pretty much everything: it’s the head quarter of Corrado Assenza, one of the best pastry chefs in Italy. Pasticceria Colicchia (Via delle Arti, 6/8) is famous in Trapani for its granite, just like Rosy Bar (Via Risorgimento, 4) in Modica (try the Modica chocolate, too!).
Want to venture and try your own granita? Here is a quite traditional recipe.
Coffee Sicilian Granita
3 cups freshly brewed espresso, (see Tip)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
Stir hot espresso and sugar in a medium bowl until the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Place on a level
surface in your freezer and freeze for 2 hours, stirring and scraping with a fork every 20 minutes to break up the ice crystals. Cover and freeze for at least 1 hour more.
Beat cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until medium peaks form, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Scrape the frozen granita into ice crystals using a sturdy fork. To serve, layer the granita with whipped cream in goblets or simply top with a dollop of whipped cream.
Tagged with: #ITALIAN FOOD
Here is the second part of our special on Italian vegetarian recipes: we covered pasta, we shall now look at soups. Just in time for the first autumn chill!
Who doesn’t love a good plate of properly cooked Italian pasta? We wanted to pick out top 10 pasta recipes… for vegetarians. From the classic pesto or arrabiata sauce to sweet pumpkin tortelli, what’s your favorite? And what do you think we’ve missed?