Gelato Days, Gelato Nights

April  15, 2010

It’s that time of year again. The ripe time. The jasmine is sweet; cows low in verdant pastures; a soft breeze blows from Africa.

It’s time for Sicilians to begin doing what they most love doing: eating gelato.

Men Eating Ice Cream, Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

Sicilians claim to have invented ice cream by mixing citrus syrups with the snow of Mount Etna. According to Mary Taylor Simeti, though, the reality is more complicated.

Ice Cream/Gelato, copyright Jann Huizenga

Ice Cream Cone, copyright Jann Huizenga

The place to go for ice cream in Southeast Sicilybesides the wonderful Caffè Sicilia in Noto—is Gelati Divini in Ragusa Ibla. You won’t find any icky Baskin Robbin’s flavors (no Cotton Candy, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Oreo Cookies ‘n Cream). These are Old World gelati for grown-ups: Rose Petal, Cream of Marsala, Jasmine, Honey of a Thousand Flowers, Fennel, Persimmon, Moscato d’Asti, Nero d’Avola. Rosaria, the charming proprietess, will always let you sample before you order.

Ice Cream at Gelati Divini, Ragusa Ibla, Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

Gelati Divini

Sicilian gelato has much less fat than American ice cream, so indulging is not really a sin.

Ice Cream at Gelati Divini, Ragusa Ibla, Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

Chocolate and Vino Cotto (Cooked Wine)

Taylor Simeti also recommends the Gelateria Cappadonia in tiny Cerda as the best gelateria in western Sicily. (Cerda is about an hour’s drive east of Palermo). In season, they make an artichoke gelato! Do you have a favorite gelateria in Sicily? Or maybe a great Sicilian gelato recipe? Please share!

Girl Eating Green Gelato, copyright Jann Huizenga

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11 comments to Gelato Days, Gelato Nights

  • sandee wheeler

    I want to share gelato with the 3 gentlemen in the top picture!!

  • Bedda – After these pictures, I’m going today! I have the need for gelato! We are going with friends to San Leone. A costal city near Agrigento that is basically the beach, resort area of South Central Sicily.
    We will be going to Le Cuspidi =
    BTW – Loved the link about the origins of ice cream in Catania. Interesting.
    Another gelateria I love is Spiga D’Oro in Canicattì. AMAZING. One of the best selctions I have seen.
    STA SERA – FORZA LAZIO! Derby di Roma!!!

  • Margo Chavez

    I’ll always remember that one of the best experiences in the world is getting panna on my nose and fingers when I am eating an ice cream sandwich (ice cream in a sweet roll with whipped cream). The best is baccio (hazelnut and chocolate). What are those divine little sandwiches called, Janna, do you remember?

    • Jann

      Margo, it´s brioscia con gelato, especially good when the brioscia is still warm and the gelato melts inside!

  • There is a tiny gelato truck that comes through my neighborhood. The owner blows a whistle, and all of the children, (big children included), run for the street. My little one loves the kinder chocolate flavor!

    • Jann

      That is so sweet! I haven´t seen a gelato truck in our neighborhood, thank goodness–it would be such a temptation!

  • Our favorite gelato place is “Blue Moon” in Donnalucata about 20 minutes southeast of Ragusa.

  • Josephine Lissandrello

    Jann: Is Gelati Divini the gelateria near the Villa Iblea? I remember their gelati were really gooooood! Another thing that is good in Sicily during the summer is the latte di mandorla (almond milk). Of course the granite (ices),and the semifreddo (icecream cake)are also delicious. I better quit here,I’m getting nostalgic.

    • Jann

      Jo, that is a different place, near the gardens–also delicious, though I cannot think of its name now.

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