The Sicilian granita, origin and curiosity

Granita And Brioche are absolute protagonists of summer breakfast consumed in Sicily, a real ritual that is based on a combination as unusual as it is loved that boasts very ancient origins. The Sicilian granita, in fact, is a typical dessert of the local culinary tradition born at the time of the Arab domination.

Made by combining water, sugar and fruit juice or adding other components, the granita is a spoon dessert which is tasted very cold, made such by a procedure that allows you to freeze the mixture very slowly and above all by mixing continuously to avoid the formation of ice crystals: what you get is a sort of thick and, in fact, iced cream at the right point.

Declined in a long series of variations that also depend on the location, the traditional Sicilian granita is usually based on almonds, pistachio, citrus and even white mulberries and black mulberries. In fact, in the list of traditional food products of the Sicily Region, it appears black mulberry granita: a preparation based on mulberries or mulberries, fruit trees originating from South Asia.

There is no shortage of versions with seasonal fruit, such as prickly pear and peach, as well as granitas with coffee, chocolate and of course lemon.

From rattata to granita

Behind the origins of the Sicilian granita lies lo Arabic sherbet, a sort of fruit juice enriched with rose water and subsequently frozen. A practice that began to spread also in Sicily in the years of the Saracen domination, mainly exploiting the snow collected on theEtna or on the other island peaks, such as the Iblei Mountains, the Nebrodi and the Peloritani.

Precisely, the so-called nivaroli took care of collecting the snow and storing it inside stone niviere, exploiting the natural caves which could guarantee a sufficiently low temperature. The frozen snow, if necessary, was then scratched and used in various ways, including the preparation of rattate which represent the ancestors of today’s granitas.

There rattata It was then carefully mixed in wooden vats equipped with a zinc bucket and crank, sweetening it by adding lemon juice, honey or fruity syrups. All this was made possible by one innovative discoverybased on the use of snow mixed with salt to refrigerate.

Only many years later, in the twentieth century, the rotary movement of the crank began to be replaced by the mechanical one of the ice cream makers.

The ritual of granita with brioche

More than brioche, in Sicily we talk about “brioscia with tuppo”, That is to say the upper part that recalls the chignon and which usually represents the first bite. According to tradition, it may have been a woman from Messina who first created this delicacy, recalling the features of the female breast.

Another one local legendinstead, it refers to the love story between two young people hindered by their respective families and told by an ancient tongue twister. The young bride-to-be cut her hair in a bun just to spite her mother, thus obtaining her consent to marry her beloved.

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