The local Italian ice cream could be of two types. The first – Gelato- is a classic ice cream, based on milk and cream. It is sometimes having eggs in it. The second type – Granita – is a sort of fruit ice. The recipes of frozen desserts without milk came to Europe from the East, and the granita ice cream was first produced by the Sicilians. This, refreshing in a hot day, dessert, is nothing less than the frozen mixtures of sugar syrup and fruit juices. The most common types of this ice cream are lemon, almond, strawberry, chocolate and coffee. In addition, you may find ‘granita menta’, which is having a strong mint taste and dark green color. The granita is, as a rule, somewhat cheaper than the classic ice cream. One portion usually costs about 1 euro.
The texture of this ice cream is granular, and it varies depending on the regions. For example, in Palermo, this dessert is having a rough texture, with large pieces of ice, and on the other coast, it is smooth and soft. Granita is usually served in summer for breakfast, or at any time of the day, like an ordinary ice cream. It comes together with coffee and soft fragrant buns called brioche.
It is difficult to call ice cream a typical Italian dessert, but in Italian cities, there is a special type of café, which specializes in ice cream and offers many of its kinds. This type of café is called ‘gelateria’. When you hire a car at Catania Airport Fontanarossa and drive down the city, you will definitely find a couple of gelaterias. Nevertheless, there are also some more cafes in Catania, where gelato and granita are served. Here are five best of them, with their brief description.
Location: Via Vittorio Emanuele, 105, 95010, Santa Venerina
Working hours: Sunday-Saturday: 7.30-14.00; 15.30-21.30
About 20 kilometers of Catania, there is Santa Venerina municipality, where this small and charming pasticceria (confectionary) is situated. The locals say that this is one of the best places, where granita and brioche are served. In addition, this confectionary is unique- the atmosphere is cozy and the air is balmy. There, the coffee is stunning and you will really feel the spirit of Italian culture around you.
Comis Ice Cafe’
Location: Piazza Vincenzo Bellini 8/9, 95131
Working hours: Sunday-Saturday: 7.00-2.30
The café is standing right in front of the Teatro Massimo Bellini, at the Bellini square. Having your gelato and coffee, you will be able to admire the architecture of the picturesque opera house. It is a nice place with a wide terrace, which is always crowded with both locals and tourists. The staff is friendly and very helpful. The flavors are great and the portions are huge.
Cioccolato e Gelato
Location: Piazza Abramo Lincoln 21, 95128
Working hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 8.00-00.00
The most advanced techniques of ice cream making and the best raw materials are used for the art of C&G desserts. The café is offering different tastes, from traditional to the most innovative, served with original warm waffles, or in the cups, which are decorated in different styles. There is a wide range of delicious pralines covered with creamy white milk chocolate. Some of them are unusually flavored. For example- the mojito praline or basil praline. Everything could be comfortably tasted at the inside and outside tables of the cafe.
After an accurate packaging, the box with C&G desserts becomes a great gift for everyone.
Location: Via Provinciale, 81 (Aci Trezza) Aci Castello
Working hours: Sunday-Saturday: 8.00-2.00
The café could seem simple, but their ice cream is marvelous. You could see the process of granita and gelato preparation, as well as the cooking of exceptionally fresh and delicious brioche buns. The prices are not high, so the café is usually crowded. The service is friendly, attentive and quick. There you may also try delicious arancini. This place is a little gem, as they are working deep into the night! Try their pistachio ice cream, hazelnut or the berry. You may buy half-and-half, in order to try more flavors. Great service, the place looks refreshing.
Chiosco Sicilia Seltz
Location: Corso Sicilia 8, 95131
Working hours: Monday-Friday: 7.00-3.00; Saturday: 8.00-4.00
This is a kiosk, which is standing right by the Banca di Sicilia cashpoint, opposite the Roman amphitheater. Here you may try different types of ice cream from the freshest ingredients, which are served quickly and sprightly. In addition to the ice cream, try their local granita beverages- they are very refreshing and delicious, as well as the frappe, which are served in different variations. The staff is friendly and polite. This place is a jewel of Catania. Don’t go past this little, nice kiosk, you won’t regret it!