Today there are many versions but the true recipe of the Sicilian granita, or Italian ice, is only one! Let’s discover together the secrets of this fresh delicacy.

First of all, few people know that granita is the typical summer breakfast in Sicily. When you wake up and the temperatures are quite high, we do not recommend a hot cappuccino, it’s much better to have something cool like a granita.

The origins of the Sicilian granita

sicilian granita
The traditional lemon granita and brioche

Traditionally, it is said that the Arabs were the first to introduce it. They used the snow of Mount Etna, mixing it with lemon juice and thus obtaining a product called rattata, scratching the snow. But the real granita was obtained a few centuries later when the pozzetto, that means the little well, was invented. They use to fill a wooden tub with a mixture of snow and salt, that served as a coolant. They put a bucket of zinc that contained a mixture of water, sugar and lemon in the wooden tub. The rotating movement of some pallets prevented the formation of ice. This is how the real Sicilian granita with its unmistakable creamy appearance was born.

Sicilian granita: the traditional recipe

Today the pozzetto has been replaced by the modern ice cream makers but you can get an excellent granita even without it.

To get a fresh granita, just mix the lemon juice with water and sugar previously dissolved over low heat. Store the mixture in the freezer for 30 minutes and after a while, break the ice crystals. Repeat the operation 6/7 times and the granita will be ready to be enjoyed with a delicious brioche.

The flavours of the Sicilian granita

The most traditional flavour is lemon along with almond and black mulberry but every area of Sicily has its favorite flavour.

In the Messina area, granita coffee is the most appreciated or strawberry granita with cream. In Catania you cannot miss the pistachio one.

But today there are not limit the various types of granita, you could even find it made with Coca-Cola! So, you only have to come here and try all of them.

Do you want an explanation of how to eat granita? Watch this video.

Categories: Useful Tips


Kathryn Occhipinti · June 24, 2022 at 4:26 am

Last summer I made lemon, watermellon, and berry granita. Granita was a big hit with the family now that Chicago is routinely 90 -100 degrees on a summer day. So nice to learn the history of this sweet Sicilian treat!

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