Granitas beat the heat


By Claire Lardizabal
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FLORENCE, Italy— At the Mercato Centrale, stalls of purses, scarves and various trinkets surround the massive complex while inside local meat and produce vendors thrive. Upstairs, tourists and locals alike can also find the Arà: è Sicilia granita stand for a refreshing, sweet treat. The Sicilian granita is Italy’s own rendition of the slushy, made of sugar, ice and many flavors, but it holds its weight like a sorbet. Granitas can be found all over Italy, but are more popular in southern regions such as Campania because of warmer climates.

The festive Arà stall can be found by the market’s interior stairway. The flavored shaved ice is made every morning and is stored in deep silver cylinders.

Granitas can be served with a brioche or cream for an extra charge. Generous samples of coffee, lemon, almond, strawberry or cherry granita are given on neon plastic spoons. I…

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Panna cotta anyone?


By Claire Lardizabal

FLORENCE, Italy—The white gelatinous dome drizzled with dark pink raspberry sauce wiggled as our server brought it towards the table.

“Panna cotta?” he asked.

I claimed it and sliced my spoon into the custard-like concoction, ignoring the fact I spent the last 45 minutes consuming bread, house Chianti, fresh bruschetta and lasagna.

The spoonful melted in my mouth. How can this little dome of perfection be so sweet, light, creamy yet rich all at once? The panna cotta was devoured within minutes, a simple and delicate ending to another traditional Italian meal.

Panna cotta translates as cooked cream. No one knows of its exact genesis, except that the dessert began showing up in the northern Italian Langhe region of Piedmont in the early twentieth century. Panna cotta is made like Jell-O, except gelatin and milk is melted into boiled cream and sugar, then cooled into molds in…

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