Granita and Gelato are two iconic desserts associated with Sardinia and now these tasty treats are served all over Italy.
If you are a huge fan of desserts and are heading on holidays to Sardinia in the near future you need to take a look at our guide of the best places to find these tasty treats.
What are Gelato and Granita?
First and foremost we need to explain the differences between Gelato and Granita so you know what you are asking for when you visit a Sardinian restaurant or Gelateria .
Gelato is made with a base of milk, cream and sugar and is then combined with fruit and nut purees as well as other flavourings. It is seen a as type of ice cream and generally contains less air and more flavouring than other frozen desserts. As the process is slower, gelato is known for having a denser texture and its lack of cream, which can be found in ice cream, also makes it healthier.
According to Odyssey, Gelato by law should have at least 3.5% butterfat. Gelato can be served in anyway that ice cream is, including in a cup, a cone or as ‘affogato’ which is in a coffee.
Chiccheria is a pastry shop founded in 1976 which has gone onto become one of the most famous gelato and pastry shops in Sardinia. With restaurants in Villasimius and Cagliari, the owners tells us the process of making Gelato.
They say, “In Chiccheria, the production of gelato follow the same principle applied in the best restaurants in the world: selection of high quality raw materials.
“The principles are rigorous: the first and most basic is no use of dyes, chemicals and semi-finished, but only fresh seasonal fruits from the best cultivators in Italy and farms in the province of Grosseto; second, for sorbet’s base use of natural mineral water; third, for creams use only of fresh organic milk, fresh organic eggs, selections of Pistachios from Sicily and Greece, hazelnut Tonda Langhe (CN), Torrone from Tonara (NU) and a selection of the best raw cacao and fair-trade coffee from central America.
“Over the years we created new tastes and special recipes: the latest is “la dolce ricotta”, with fresh ricotta cheese Guilder Roccalbegna (GR) and the Maremma Chestnut honey. For the Saint Patron of Marina di Grosseto (San Rocco) was created a particular recipe “La Crema di San Rocco”, with organic eggs from the farm Acquisti, local pinenuts and biological zafferano from Maremma. To tie the gelato to the territory were created zabaglione with Vin Santo DOCG Chianti and Biscotti, Fior Rice with Rice Maremma Arborio, the peach from Castellaccia (Gr) with Morellino di Scansano DOCG and organic raspberries sorbet with local rosemary.”
Granita is a semi frozen dessert that consists of sugar, water and a variety of flavourings. This iconic dessert originated from Sicily and is related to sorbet.
Granita can vary depending upon which part of Italy you are visiting as a result of different freezing techniques with the dessert being chunkier on the west coast of Italy and smoother in the east coast.
Whilst the texture may vary slightly, it is always different from that of ice cream, which is creamier, and is different from sorbet as that is more compact.
The usual recipe for Granita sees 300ml of water placed in a pan with 150g of granulated sugar and the zest and juice from a lime. Once it has been heated gently all the sugar will dissolve. After boiling for three minutes, the liquid is allowed to cool and then you liquidise 500g of strawberries and raspberries with syrup until it is smooth. You can then sieve and remove the pips before pouring into a container.
After this process you freeze for two hours and then use a fork to dice up the ice crystals. You can then serve this delicious treat.
Best places to try Gelato and Granita
There are so many amazing restaurants and ice cream parlours dotted all over Sardinia that you are sure to find a place that serves Gelato and Granita. Here are some of the top destinations to try and visit.
Gelateria Bar Smeralda and GAP in Olbia
According to Gourmet Sardinia, the Gelateria Bar Smeralda is a great place to try Gelato.
Lori Farris from Gourmet Sardinia, says, “Gelateria Smeralda makes all of their gelato using local ingredients. For instance in September they will be making Fichi (fig) and in October will be making kaki (persimmon) gelato. This gelateria stays within the authenticity by serving local and seasonal flavors. It is located perfectly so that everyone who is taking a passeggiata will have to pass by this hot spot. A “must try” when visiting this quaint Medieval town.”
Heather Cowper is a travel blogger at Heather on Her Travels, writing about authentic travel with a little luxury including all the best places to eat and she recommends heading to Gelateria Smeralda and GAP.
Heather, who has written about Mediterranean food before, says, “In Olbia look out for a couple of Gelateria that are close to each other and make gelato artigianale, which means that the gelato is made on the premises from natural ingredients, rather than being bought in. They are both on the Main Street of Corso Umberto, so easy to find; Gelateria Smeralda (Corso Unberto I, 24) and GAP (Corso Umberto, 81). We especially enjoyed the local myrtle flavour from the small black berries of the bushes that grow wild in Sardinia and taste a bit like blackcurrant.”
Granita Fun, who own a number of ice cream trolleys on Sardinian beaches, produces granite. Its products are made with water, fresh fruit and sugar, which are perfect for summer.
Marco L’Abbate from Granita Fun, says, “You can find it on the most important Sardinia beaches.
These are sold with the help of trolleys so, the tourist can enjoy our product comfortably lying under the umbrella or, if you prefer, you can decide to buy it at the various beach bars or hotels on the Sardinian coast.”
So if you just want to sunbathe on Sardinia’s beaches you don’t have to miss out on Granita as Granita Fun serves 90% of the regions beaches.
Gelateria Chiccheria is widely regarded as one of the best places to eat Gelato and it is highly recommended by Victoria at Luxury Life Goals.
She says, “Gelateria Chiccheria is located in the main square of Villasimius and serves some of the best gelato in Sardinia. This artisanal Gelateria serves some truly delicious ice cream made with high quality ingredients – you must try the honey with walnuts flavour and the ricotta with saffron and crispy orange. Instead of going for the usual chocolate, pistachio or vanilla, I love trying more unique, original flavours and this Gelateria has plenty of them. Plus the portions and prices are good!”
Gelateria Caffetteria La Carapigna
Gelateria Caffetteria La Carapigna in Castelsardo in the northwest of the island, is another eatery that serves up some of the best gelato you can find in Italy.
The cafeteria serves a whole host of different types of Gelato and this ranges from coffee to pistachio. It also offers up a selection of delicious Granita for you to try as well.
One happy customer told Trip Advisor, “Of 7 days in Castel Sardo we had gelato here at least 5 times! My favourite was the cheesecake and pistachio! The wife loved the coffee flavour- only good in Italy according to her. Delicious!”
Gelateria Da Mimmo E Agnese
This popular ice cream parlour not only serves a huge array of ice creams, it is arguably even more famous for the Granita that it makes.
The Granita that Gelateria Da Mimmo E Agnese serves is made in the traditional way and is the best place to try it in Porto San Paolo.
Every year Gelateria Da Mimmo E Agnese mixes up its flavours, so if you decide to come back you can always try something a bit different. This ice cream parlour is not only popular with holidaymakers but locals alike.