Granita in Sicily: Messina Vs Catania


Sicily is unbeatable when it comes to granita: since the Arab domination, this fresh dessert accompanies the hot months of the Sicilians, because it is more refreshing and lighter than ice cream.
Granita, in Sicily, is consumed for breakfast, on summer mornings, before going to the seaside or starting any activity.

We can argue about where the best granita in all of Sicily is produced. And it immediately becomes an endless back and forth: like any culinary discussion in our country.

Better in Messina, someone says. The density is the correct one, the sugar is a little more pronounced, the consistency, linked to the temperature, is what it should be: it is never frozen and never liquid, it remains in a permafrost condition which is a mystery of faith to understand how it happens, but it happens.

Better in Catania, say others, certainly from Etna. The granita here is a little more tart and soft, almost a thick cream. Roughly the same one found in Syracuse.

What drives the issue is the recognition of Messina granita as a “protected brand”, Catania’s response was not long in coming: Granita di Acireale towards European certification.
The differences?
If you ask a person from Messina what the granita par excellence is, he will answer without hesitation half with cream. This is the name given to coffee granita in Messina. It is served in the classic glass together with a soft and warm brioscia, which must be expertly dipped into the glass by mixing the cream with the coffee. There are those who maintain that there is a real art in eating half with cream. The true queen of Messina granitas. Strawberry cremolata and lemon cremolata follow closely behind.

The Catanese granita is characterized by the variety of flavors and a more original workmanship. Here, the pistachio flavor (originally from Bronte), the almond flavor (the Catanese minnulata, i.e. almond flavored, on which a drop of coffee is poured) are very popular. hot) and fruit flavours: black mulberry, peach, strawberry.

The truth is that granita is the heritage of all of Sicily and each city has its own way of interpreting it.
Finally, we like to remember a very small bar located in Savoca, a small village on the Ionian coast of Messina, where some scenes of the Godfather were filmed: the “Vitelli bar”, once a place of pilgrimage in terms of granitas. The late Mrs. Maria D’ Every evening, for years, Arrigo prepared her fresh lemon granita. She made it on the spot, squeezing the lemons with one hand, while in the other she held a cigarette which she consumed by herself. An elderly woman of an indefinite age, she had the manners of those who don’t have to win over customers, they’ll come anyway. And if they don’t come, that’s up to them. Impatiently she invited “those who are ready for the granita” to wait a moment longer.