The Perfect Sicilian Breakfast - Granita and Brioche
The heat of Sicilian summers can, at times, be unforgiving (especially during August). Therefore, anything that can offer some respite and refresh the senses has to be much appreciated. Luckily the Sicilians have come up with something that not only does this during summer -- but it is so good that it is hard to resist any time of the year.
Granita and brioche for breakfast (or whenever there is a good enough excuse) is an unmistakably Sicilian experience, which no visitor should miss the chance to enjoy.
Here is a short guide to the process:
Step 1: Find a bar that sells them -- our favourite on is Rosy Bar in Modica Sorda. Rosy Bar is decidedly off the tourist track and is only frequented by those who know it, but their granitas are some the best in the entire region of Ragusa.
Step 2: Sit back, relax and choose your flavour. The most common ones are coffee, mandorla (almond), mandorla tostata (toasted almond) and lemon. According to the season, availability and the mood of the owner of the bar you can also find peach, strawberry, wild strawberries, pistachios, chocolate, etc. Take note that some are not granite but cremolate (they have pieces of fruit inside).
Step 3: Order whatever you feel like with a brioche.
Step 4: Once the granita arrives grab a piece of brioche, dip, bite and repeat. Do not feel shy to ask for a second or third (you know you want to).
Step 5: Do not mention any likeness with granitas in the rest of Italy-- the Sicilian granita is a different beast. While in the rest of Italy granita or granatina is essentially crushed ice with flavoured syrup in Sicily the process is much slower. The almonds or the coffee or the fruit are mixed with water and some sugar, and stirred and cooled leading to a dense liquid of granules (hence the name). They are never frozen and then crushed. The key is the quality of the ingredients and patience to get the consistency just right.