Holiday in Sicily and wake up to the fact that choosing an ice cream flavour will never be the same again. From almond to zabaglione, pistachio of bronte, with basil, cinnamon, licorice along the way, best gelato (bread or cone) in Sicily is available wherever you go and at any time of day. Which gives you ample opportunity to try as many flavours as possible.
The story goes that ice cream first came to Sicily by way of the ancient Greek or Roman foot runners who brought snow from Etna to Taormina and Catania, flavoured with nuts, berries and honey. The introduction of sugar cane by the Arabs in the 9th century resulted in an Arab invention based on sorbet made with cane sugar, more akin to what we associate with ice cream today.
As any good Sicilian will tell you, the best way to start the day is with an ice cream for breakfast. Forget Mr Whippy and think instead in terms of a hefty dollop of gelato inside an oven-warm, buttery brioche bun, accompanied, of course, by an espresso. Breakfast over, the next dilemma of the day is whether to get a gelato, sorbet or granita. While ice cream is usually made with cow’s milk or cream with fruit, nuts and even, in some cases, flowers such as jasmine, sorbet is made without milk. Granite, ever-popular in Sicily, is made from fruit and sugar which is slowly mixed with water while it is frozen to create finely crushed ice.
So where are the best places to get your best ice cream (bread or cone) in Sicily? We’ve identified a few gelaterie situated close to our villas on the east coast and in south east Sicily to get your taste buds going.
Caffe Sicilia, Noto
Dating as far back as 1892 and best known for its granite, Caffe Sicilia sits next door to the Dolceria Corrado Costanzo, Noto’s best pasticceria. Be prepared for sublime tastes but slightly inflated prices. Incapable of making a decision? Go for a trio of trial size granite with favourite combos including coffee, almond and black cherry or grapefruit, mandarin and almond milk.
The Gelateria O’Sciality is one the most famous gelaterie in Taormina. Making their own ice-cream is a given but at O’Sciality, they also make their own signature cones with almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts. Opt for melon, jasmine, mandarin or licorice ice-cream , a limone gelato-filled brioche or push the boat out with a scoop of gold gelato with edible 24 carat gold flakes.
Gelati di Vini, Ragusa
Situated near San Giorgio cathedral in Ragusa Ibla’s atmospheric historic centre, Gelati Di Vini captures the very best flavours of south east Sicily. The best ice-cream flavours range from chilli chocolate, carob, Bronte pistachios, onion and olive oil to some of the best local wines such as Nero d’Avola.