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Lemon Granita

Posted in Food & Entertaining

The trick to visiting the island of Capri is to either go out of season or to sleep on the island. Taking one of the boats that ferry tourists back and forth all day from Naples only ensures you will be one of the throngs invading the small island with tiny streets and virtually no beaches.

Capri is a rocky island and most of its beaches are to be found only if you circumnavigate it by boat, something you won’t get the chance to do if you are there only for a few hours. As soon as the sun sets, though, the masses vanish and only those who stay in one of the few hotels or in private homes can take full advantage of that small Paradise. In my case, it means eating pizza and gelato until I burst.

I was thinking about Capri as I was pondering my lemon tree crop and what to do with it. The very first thing I did last time I was in Capri, once I dragged my suitcase up a steep hill and deposited it in my tiny room with the vast balcony overlooking the gulf, was to retrace my steps, saunter down towards the sea and stop at the first granita stand I encountered.

Southern Italy – and Sicily in particular – is famous for its citrus. Granita, a Sicilian invention, is the perfect use of citrus in Summer, and the perfect way to relieve the intense heat. If making ice-cream is not an option for you, for lack of the necessary equipment, granita only needs a freezer and a fork (although in some parts of Sicily granita is churned and has a different, creamier consistency).

Besides the citrus, the flavors are endless – I am partial to coffee and tamarind. But lemon is a good introduction if you have never made it. This version has enough sugar for my palate, not too sweet and not too sour, but you can adjust the amount to your taste.

 

7-year-old me in Capri

RECIPE

1 C water

1/2 C of sugar

1/2 C lemon juice (about 2 or 3 lemons)

  • Combine water and sugar in a small pot, adding a few strips of lemon zest. Heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool and remove the strips of zest. Add the lemon juice.
  • Pour the liquid in a shallow bowl or container and stick it in the freezer. Rake the mixture with a fork every 30 minutes for about 3 hours, until completely frozen. Serve immediately.

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14 Comments

  1. My husband and I (with another couple) first visited Capri many (30+?) years ago in late October – the hoards of tourists were not there – maybe because it was long ago, or maybe because it was not in the tourist season. Whatever. Like countless people before us we fell in love with this magical island. My favourite place was the Emperor Augustus’s logia, high above the sea (apparently he had people who displeased him thrown off it!). We visited Axel Munthes house which was fascinating, but by far the best thing was sitting in a small cafe in the central square, having a coffee and a lemon granita and people watching…
    I would not like to go back now, as the hordes of tourists are changing the ambience of such places, Venice, Florence, Dubrovnik etc and seeing it like that would destroy my memories.

    September 1, 2017
    |Reply
    • That photo of me was taken at Munthes’ house. I took the same photos about 40 years later, with my husband. Italy has become a giant Disneyland. One needs to go off season to really enjoy it. Although there are still places that are pretty undiscovered, off the beaten path. But gone are the day when I used to visit the beaches in….wait for it….Yugoslavia!! and not a soul around.

      September 2, 2017
      |Reply
  2. Vacanza a Lipari: Granita al caffè con doppia panna 😉

    August 17, 2017
    |Reply
  3. Love the photo!
    Capri is such a beautiful place – preferably, out of season😃

    August 17, 2017
    |Reply
    • Yes, out of season it’s fantastic. Going up to Anacapri and being virtually alone…

      August 18, 2017
      |Reply
  4. I LOVE granita. When I went to Tuscany a few weeks ago I was surprised that no one had te freddo fatto in casa. So forget asking for it with limone granita. Maybe it’s a central/southern thing? However, I’m pretty sure one can find it in Milan.

    I haven’t been to Capri yet. I’d love to go. I enjoyed Ischia but was only there for a day.

    August 17, 2017
    |Reply
    • It’s definitely more of a Southern thing. I can’t think of a place in Bologna where they have granita. Do go to Capri. In April.

      August 18, 2017
      |Reply
  5. winstonmoreton
    winstonmoreton

    It gets worser every day. Last August it was a river of upright overheated bodies in the dark tunnel waiting for that famous funicular. The pressure of people from behind is scary if you’re claustrophobic or wonder about about the chances of a religious zealot with a bomb. The old car went up and down three time before we could escape and push on board. No chance of sitting together or enjoying the scenery and sunshine; it was a free for all scramble for position. At the top all I found were designer outlets, more tourists and pocket-sized souvenirs made in China for aircraft travelers. I spent most of my time in the air-conditioned reading room of a luxury hotel where we had a wonderful Italian lunch. Isole Ischia and Ponza are nicer but cannot match the Antipodes – we have oranges and lemons too

    August 17, 2017
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    • I bet you sat inside Quisisana! I will have to check the Antipodean islands but Capri is actually fabulous. Going up to Anacapri or boating around the island is pretty fabulous.

      August 18, 2017
      |Reply
      • winstonmoreton
        winstonmoreton

        Hai vinto! Quisisana proprio. Anche vero, dovresti visitare le isole paradiso degli antipodi!

        August 18, 2017
        |Reply
  6. Sounds divinely refreshing especially during the dog days of summer. Oh, but to be in Capri and experience it in person…now THAT’S the ticket! 🍋

    August 16, 2017
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