I have fond memories of spending my childhood scoffing slush puppies in London, which for those of you not familiar, are cups full of vibrant, chemically-coloured ice and E-numbers, which tasted nowhere near the fruits they were supposed to represent. Fast forward twenty years and there I am face to face with a strawberry granita. As nostalgia floods me with memories of weird neon stained tongues I take a sip and am glad to discover that the Italian granita is nothing like my childhood slush puppies. If you visit Southern Italy, particularly in the summer, at some point you’re going to stumble upon granita. For those of you who don’t know what that is, here is a guide to granita, the delicious refreshing ice dessert which will become your new obsession.
Granita is a traditional Sicilian sweet which is a mix between a sorbet and an iced drink. Made from sugar syrup and fresh fruit and blended to a smooth texture you can find granite in a wide range of flavours which will make your tastebuds trip out. I have personally taken it upon myself this summer to travel far and wide through Calabria on the hunt for the perfect granita. Yes, it’s a hard task but someone has got to do it. On my adventures, I’ve come across flavours ranging from the classic lemon and strawberry varieties to passion fruit, watermelon, hazelnut, pistachio and even chocolate orange! Generally, granite fall into two camps, sweet or savoury but in summer sweet reign king and during the summer months you’ll see graniterie popping up in towns and bars will offer them as an alternative to their gelato.
Served in a tall glass they come with the option to include panna, a wickedly light and fluffy whipped cream, which matches perfectly with the sweetness of the granita. And as if that’s not enough calories in one go, any good Italian will encourage you to munch on a freshly baked brioche whilst enjoying your granita. While your tastebuds will love you for this your belly will not, particularly if you’re eating a vast quantity of them to combat the scorching southern Italian sun and then have to squeeze into a bikini. But hey futtitindi as they say here, you only live once right?
Have you tried Granita? What flavour is your favourite/ would you pick? Let me know in the comments below.
Challenged by my husband I’m going to have a go at making my own granite and so check back next week for the recipe and to find out how they went!