Sunny Sicily surprises all palates with the tastiest cold dessert ever: try the Sicilian granita! Let's find out its original recipe.

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The Sicilian granita is the pride of this enchanting island, an incredible triumph of flavour that refreshes and delights the island's sunniest summers. But how did such a delicacy come about? And what delicious flavours can we find? Read the article to find out all this and much more, including the country that, according to myth, gave birth to Sicilian granita, this tasty cold dessert, and more!

Who remembers anymore the snow that the carts brought down from the mountain snow-boxes, covered with salt and straw, and which was shouted for sale in the streets and bought from the houses to cool the summer canteens? Two pennies' worth of snow, four pennies' worth: and it was put into the hollow of certain bottles (I have not seen any more around), to keep the water cool, to make those very strong red wines give the illusion of lightness. Half a lira's worth of snow was then enough to freeze that mixture of water, sugar, lemon and egg whites beaten to a froth, which was the granita: the granita of the past which, fortunately, can still be found in some out-of-the-way towns

Leonardo Sciascia

The Sicilian granita history: why is it so well-known? Facts and history

The Sicilian granita: why is it so well-known? Facts and history

From Sicily to the outer North region: the Sicilian granita is a must on the Italian tables. But where does it come from? Since Medieval times, the nivaroli tradition had been consisting of picking up the snow from the Etna Mount and from the Madonie as well, in order to recollect it and then bringing it to the seaside in the hotter days for the production of syrups or lemon juices. But the real origins of the Sicilian granita are to be found mainly in Catania and Messina cities, then developing in Palermo, too. This is how a real Granita should be served: into a glass, with an opaque colour and taken from the ice-cream small container. 

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Best granita and brioche Palermo: an irresistible taste!

Palermo granita brioche: an irresistible taste!

The Sicilian granita recipe  differs a lot from the classical one, thanks to its "consistency": it is less creamy and more grainy (almost glassy), but it is possible to taste it with thousands of different flavours: lemon, almond, pistachio, coffee, jasmine and cinnamon, strawberry, mulberry, watermelon, and peach in a blaze of fresh and thisrty colours. But what makes a Sicilian granita so special? Of course, the fact that it is accompained by a soft and hot pastry. Its characteristic consists of being a flavored sweet prepared with eggs, whose glummetiello (or the italian tuppo) is used to make the most of the consummation. It can also be tasted with iced tea, a lager or some bread. But if you want to really taste it, you have to come in Palermo!

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The myth of Sicilian granita origin

The myth of Sicilian granita

It is said that the origin of the Sicilian granita is to be found in the village of the Malavoglias in Acitrezza. The inventor is the cook Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli, who lived between Sicily and Paris at the turn of the 16th century. At the Casa del Nespolo Museum in Acitrezza, you can discover the fascinating story of the birth of the world's most famous cold dessert.

It is said that Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli, developed his skills as a pastry chef while living in the seaside village of Acitrezza. He was a former fisherman who converted to the production of a dessert so sweet and fresh that it improved the life of his whole town, which was notoriously hot. The invention of the granita Italy earned him the title of "father of ice creams". His enormous success prompted him to move to Paris, where he opened the first Italian ice-cream parlour.

Sicilian granita: come to prepare it according to the original recipe

Sicilian granita: come to prepare it according to the original recipe

The ingredients for the traditional Sicilian lemon granita are:

650 ml Water

350 g sugar

350 ml Lemon juice

1 pinch Salt

One lemon peel


Pour some water into a saucepan, add the sugar, the lemon peel, removing the albedo, that is the white part, and a pinch of salt if necessary. Once it comes to a boil, leave the mixture on the heat for 8 minutes. Wait for the syrup to cool completely, and add the lemon juice.

Let it sit in the freezer for 6 to 7 hours and, using a blender or immersion blender, give it a velvety, creamy consistency.

Another appreciated variant of the Sicilian granita is the strawberry granita from Messina.


1 kg strawberries

150 g caster sugar

One lemon

500-600 ml water


Clean the strawberries, taking care to remove the stalks. Sieve them.

Dissolve the sugar in the water, based on the density of the puree previously obtained, and bring the syrup to a boil for 5 minutes. After cooling, add the lemon juice that you have squeezed and strained. Then pour it over the strawberry puree, stir it, and place the mixture in the freezer compartment.

Before tasting this exquisite specialty, it has to solidify for 6 to 8 hours, taking care to mix the preparation.

Sicilian granita: taste the other delicious variations

Sicilian granita: taste the other delicious variations

What could be better than a delicious and thirst-quenching Sicilian granita to refresh you from the heat of summer days? You can taste it in different versions, vegan, gluten- or lactose-free, even if the best-loved classic flavours of the traditional recipe are coffee with cream, lemon, almond, mulberry, Bronte pistachio, prickly pear, and watermelon.

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