What is Italy’s Summer Ice Dessert?
You’ve got to try this refreshing ice dessert called granita which is prepared during Italy’s hot summer months. It’s a smooth mixture of fruit-flavored crushed ice and it’s a perfect alternative to gelato. Here’s all you should know about this delicious Italian ice dessert.
Granita is made with 3 simple ingredients: water, sugar, and fruit. Only the best gelaterie will make granita with fruits that are in season on that specific month. Some flavors such as coffee, almond, and lemon are always available. Watch Foodie Sisters in Italy, Benedetta and Valeria, show you how granita is made.
Granita and Cremolato
Granita and cremolato are similar summer ice desserts. Water, sugar, and fruits are blended together, placed in a gelato machine that mixes the ingredients until they reach the perfect consistency. Granita has coarser pieces of crushed fruit-flavored ice and it provides a crunchier experience when eating it. Cremolato is smoother and creamier. They are both served in a large plastic cup and you eat it with a spoon. Whether you’re having granita or cremolato, don’t forget to ask for panna, whipped cream, on the top.
Granita is the ancestor of gelato
Did you know that granita is the ancestor of gelato? We need to go back all the way to the Middle Ages in Sicily. There were snow collectors, called nivaroli, who would gather snow from Mount Etna and store it in stone caves to maintain the low temperature. By stirring this ice with honey, Sicilians obtained soft, creamy ice and would add fresh lemon or orange juice. This technique was used for centuries until the invention of modern appliances.
Though granita still exists as a dessert today, it is also the ancestor of gelato. It took a few other centuries for granita to evolve into gelato. But that’s a whole new chapter we’ll go over next time.