The cold specialties of the sweet Italian gastronomy tradition, to be savored as street food or desserts and made with the freshest products, are one of the cornerstones of summer in the Bel Paese. In fact, the offer goes way beyond the iconic Italian gelato. Here are three variations on the theme of ice, fruit, and sugar:
Sicilian Granita – usually served with the typical Sicilian brioches for breakfast is a mixture of water, sugar, and fruit, which is frozen with a discontinuous scraping of the part that crystallizes to the point of obtaining the desired consistency. The first ancestor of this product is the Arabic ‘sherbet’, a sort of fruit juice flavored with rose water and then frozen which was very popular in the times of Islamic domination of Sicily. Many historians of gastronomy identify it as the original version of modern granita.
Sorbetto – is the ancestor of today’s gelato, from which it differs because it does not contain milk or cream. It is a delicacy made with water, sugar, juices and/or fruit pulp, or infusions. It can be dated back to the Middle Ages at the Medici’s court thanks to instruments invented by Bernardo Buontalenti that made possible to preserve the snow from the mountains.
Cremolata – Similar to the granita but more fruit. The cremolata (or gramolata) is a mixture of water, sugar, and about 80% of fruit. In this case, the fruit is first blended coarsely and then frozen, to be finely grated and reduced into small cubes and mixed. A fundamental characteristic of the cremolata are the pieces of fruit that are clearly visible in the glass. The most famous cremolata is the Apulian fig-based one.
Ilona Catani Scarlett