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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