/The Cooling Effects of Granita

The Cooling Effects of Granita


Today it was 30 degrees in Rome. Hot. Even after 6 years in Italy, I don’t really get the Celsius-Fahrenheit conversion. Yeah, I know you multiply the Celsius temperature by 2 and add 32 to get a rough estimate but who has time? The only real distinction I am able to grasp is above or below 30 degrees Celsius. I know when it reaches 30 it’s damn hot and the summer of glistening (read: sweating) has begun. When the temp drops below 30, Italians start wearing their scarves and down vests, signaling the end of summer. I know that much. I also know that while most people have a bel gelato to cool off on those hot Roman days. I prefer granita, a slushy, sugary, icey mixture that is primarily a southern Italian phenomenon, thankfully available at Cremeria Monforte (next to the Pantheon) and Ciuri Ciuri (multiple locations).

My absolute favorite place for granita is at Il Super Mago del Gelo in Polignano a Mare just south of Bari. I routinely claim that Puglia, and the area around Bari in particular, have Italy’s best food, and their sweets are no exception. At Super Mago, they serve the most incredible granita di gelso nero (black mulberry slush) sandwiched between two enormous mounds of fresh whipped cream. The cream is barely sweet, but who needs more sugar; one granita takes care of your recommend sugar allowance for a week. Indulging in a fresh, icy granita is the best way to beat the heat on those 30 plus degree days.

2016-01-07T14:37:55+00:00 May 19th, 2009|Categories: Puglia, Sweets & Dessert|13 Comments


  1. Nonna May 20, 2009 at 1:36 am - Reply

    Funny -I am going to try my hand at lemon granita tonight–gelato tomorrow-I promised Jess by Christmas I’ll be a pro–I hope

  2. Katie May 20, 2009 at 9:45 am - Reply

    yum! i wish that could travel better. id request a container for myself:)

  3. CyrilBuzz May 20, 2009 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    Recently had some Polignano Burrata at my local Italian Coop in Paris : my Italian colleagues all laughed that it was as famous as the Eiffel tower in NY or Colosseo of Paris.

    Have u ever had dinner in the Grotta @ sea level in Polignano? will send or tweet a couple more Bari area tips later

  4. italytutto May 20, 2009 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    that granita looks so tempting – yum! Unfortunately, I’m currently in the UK where it is cold and more in need of a hot chocolate ……

  5. Bruno May 20, 2009 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Katie, I think it’s time for you to leave the seaside and meet italian people living in mountain areas: they use to wear just a short-sleeved shirt even in the freezing cold

  6. Katie May 20, 2009 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    @CyrilBuzz I dont love the Grotta Palazzese but I am fully obsessed with Da Tuccino. Headed back to Polignano on sunday for some more granita. Look for the tweets Sun-Tues.

    @ItalyTutto In that case, drink a hot chocolate for me and I will eat a granita for you.

  7. Katie May 20, 2009 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    @Bruno Now that I have to see!

  8. letizia mattiacci May 20, 2009 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    Katie, for Southern Italians the granita is really a ritual of relief from the hot summer. In Sicily people has granita for breakfast with a wonderful round brioche, light like a feather, heaven!

    Nowhere the granita is as good as in The South of Italy! Did you try that one with wild strawberries?

  9. Katie May 20, 2009 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    @Letizia im with you. It is best in the south. unfortunately I do not live there (yet). I’m trying to decide between polignano a mare, preferably in the same building as il super mago or palermo next door to la Cremolada in Piazza Alberico Gentili. how will i ever decide?

  10. Jessica May 21, 2009 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    Nonna – I’ll be expecting a full report on the granita making. Katie, you just reminded me how much I want some granita from the Cremeria! You know I’m a regular at Ciuri Ciuri (mandorla -almond- is the bomb), but I love how the whipped cream they put in the cup at the Cremeria is not really sweetened and makes a good contrast with the slush.

  11. doreen greenberg May 25, 2009 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    Had a lovely day with your mom, touring the villas out at Tivoli. We are back in NJ, now– dreaming of italia– and coffee granita near the Pantheon. we did a great bike tour in Puglia– our second trip there. I know exactly why you love it there.

  12. Katie May 27, 2009 at 1:27 am - Reply

    Doreen! I was so excited to know you live near Jon Bessler. What a coincidence! That coffee granita at Tazza d’Oro is pretty spectacular. My mom and I actually had some amazing granita at Super Mago in Polignano this afternoon (I had my usual gelso nero, she had lemon and strawberry). Sooo good. really hit the spot on a hot day! Youve got to go back and try this place if you havent already!

  13. Aventine July 13, 2009 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    The chocolate granita at Teatro del Coronari gelateria provided a much needed break from gelato; the best granita that I’ve had in Rome (added a layer of coconut as well on the top).

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