The Cooling Effects of Granita

Written by Katie Parla on May 19, 2009


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.

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