Granita - A Sicilian Specialty
From street vendors and in restaurants and cafes you will find this quintessential summery Sicilian refreshener called Granita.
It is roughly crushed ice with a flavouring. There are different variations of just how crystalline or how smooth it is from maker to maker, from town to town. Generally though, the ones we had in Catania were not smooth or fine parts of ice, and nor were they meant to be. The granules of ice were noticeable.
Some flavours include lemon (limone), strawberry (fragola), mandarin and almond. Granita with almonds is popular in Catania. Almond milk is also popular in Sicily. Coffee granita is also a popular drink in Sicily.
Outside of Sicily, a granita is often referred to as a Granita Siciliana.
In the heat of Sicily, a granita is a very refreshing treat.
- Food and Dining
Cannoli - A Sicilian Institution!
We have decided to call CANNOLI a "Local Custom", because Cannoli are a Sicilian icon. They are traditional, customary gastronomic delights.
What are Cannoli exactly? One of them is called a cannolo in Italian, or a cannolu in Sicilian. The word means “tube". In plural, in Italian, "cannolo" becomes "cannoli".
Cannoli have a shell or pastry in the shape of a tube, open at both ends. The tube is quickly fried, cooled and then filled with lightly sweetened ricotta or mascarpone cheese. Sometimes the cheese is flavoured with vanilla or rose water. Sometimes chocolate or pistacchio is added. Sometimes a cherry will be added at one or both ends.
Cannoli ought to be eaten fresh.
They are a gastronomical delight, and they can be found all over Catania and Sicilia. In other parts of Italy they may be referred to as "Cannoli Siciliani". They are famous not just in Sicily and Italy, but around the world, and can be found in patisseries and bakeries around the world.
- Food and Dining
Museum at Castello Ursino
Nowadays Castello Ursino houses Catania Civico Museum displaying artifacts from the castle as well as the greater geographical area. Exibits date from Classical era onward, representing the diverse influences throught Sicilian history. It is also used for the important art exsibitions.
Car parker, man on the street
I had never seen anything like this before, but in Italy there are these guys who work a particular stretch of road or a street corner parking cars and coordinating just about everything that could happen in this little part of the world.
I first saw this guy and thought he was a bum begging for money but when I watched closer people would actually give him their car keys and he would park their car and move it if it were double parked.
This guy was a cartoon-like figure who shuffled with stiff legs as he walked and he wore this same outfit everyday. He would park cars, light people cigarettes, give directions, pickup trash and place it in the dumpster after he rummaged through it. I guess he made a difference and kept the chaos to a minimum on this particular street corner.
- Road Trip
- Arts and Culture
The Art of Conversation, Italian Style
Italians are great talkers, debaters and overall social people. I was sitting in my room one day and watched as a conversation was going on down on the street corner. I couldn't hear anything but I watched the animated gestures that these guys were doing to get their point across.
The regular guy who parks cars and directs traffic on this street corner is confronted by the guy on the left with glasses on. He is angry at the guy with the hat for some reason. Then this other guy walks up and gets into it with the guy with glassess on. It must have been a heated debate as they went on and on for about an hour with these dramatic gestures.
- Arts and Culture
- Business Travel
Sicily greets a lot of tourists from all parts of the world. But when we go off the beating tourist path, we find the deep and traditional Sicily very prudish. I remember to have had a fair discussion with a Sicilian mother who was astonished to see my wife and my daugter both wearing a short trouser.
An other cultural habit frequent in the European warm countries. The native men seem to live in the streets. I do not know if they are on holiday or unemployed or if they are night-workers. They are waiting on the footpaths and when a known car stops (and obstrucks the street) they cross to have a short talk with the driver. It seems to be too visible to be an unlegale traffic but the Mafia is not so far...
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