Friday, July 25, 2014

Granita Da Vinci with Chianti Spiked Syllabub

A Sicilian treat with a Tuscan twist!

Such a cinch to make!

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Few things are more refreshing in the summertime than an icy-cold treat. But, sometimes, I just don't want the heaviness of ice cream. I want something fruity and icey that leaves me with a clean palette. When I was in Sicilia this summer, the icy treat, granita, was as ubiuitous as gelato.  In fact, it's popular flavors varied from city-to-city, with an almond granita being very common where we were staying just north of Catania, Siclia.

Granita di Cafe for breakfast in Taormina, Sicilia
Granita is SO common, that it is quite normal for it to be served with breakfast, yes,
breakfast! Especially the coffee-flavored granita, which went lightening fast! And, sometimes, it came with a side of brioche, which is something you see often served with gelato in Italy. But, I just couldn't wrap my head around that idea, so I skipped the bioche.

After spending a week having my granita di cafe for breakfast, and then some at lunchtime, and well, heck, even as an evening snack, I quickly became hooked.  So, when I came home, I was off to the drawing board.  Hmmm? How can I make granita even better, you ask? Da Vinci Chianti!

One could say that granita is kind of the historical prelude to gelato. In Italy, icy treats date way back to over 1000 years ago, where fruit juices were poured over shaved ice that was brought down from the mountains. Modern day granita is made from sugar, water and flavorings, and in our case today, Da Vinci Chianti! Perfetto!

In Sicilia, the texture of granita varies from city-to-city, with some cities preferring it chunkier, which is what we had in Taormina, and other cities preferring it smoother, like a sorbet. Granita, actually, has a much looser texture, which makes it different from sorbet, and I find it to be one of the most addictive, refreshing treats. That's probabaly why we looked forward to it three times a day!

1 bottle of DaVinci Chianti (reserve 1/4 cup for syllabub)
Da Vinci makes it even better!
1 cup of water
1 cup of local clover honey
2 cups of heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp of confectioner's sugar
1/4 tsp of cinnamon

1.) Place 8x12 (or, large rectangular metal baking pan in the freezer for at least 3 hours).
2.) In a small saucepan, dissolve the honey in the water and simmer for about three minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool thoroughly.
3.) Combine the Da Vinci Chianti with the honey water and pour into the baking pan and freeze for about 30 minutes.
4.) After 30 minutes, remove from the freezer, and scrape frozen parts with a fork.
5.) Continue in this fashion at every 30 minute intervals to create the ice crystals.
6.) It should take at least 2 hours to get the desired slushy, consistency.
7.) While the granita is freezing, in a large stainless steel, or copper bowl, combine the heavy whipping cream and Chianti.
8.) Whisk in the confectioner's sugar and cinnamon, and continue to whisk until a thick cream is achieved.
9.) Place syllabub in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Grab your virtual passport, and help vote for the 2014 "Storytellers!"

Since my adventure as a 2012 Da Vinci Storyteller, I've been incorporating Da Vinci Chianti into a lot of my recipes. It pulls me back to the countryside in Tuscany. It sits me down at the table where we had lunch at Bruno Rosetti's gorgeous villa, one of the Da Vinci growers. It puts me in that relaxing frame of mind, where dining is a social event that connects people, and mobile phones and other technology seem to fade off into the distance. Real face-to-face time has a high premium. This Chianti helps me relive my memories of that simple, Tuscan lifestyle. Trust me, when I say, it was the most relaxing experience that I still draw from, and try to share with my American friends and family through my recipes and stories.

These recipes and stories and photographs can paint a vivid picture, and are a great looking glass into the Tuscan lifestyle, and the "Da Vinci way."  Every year, Da Vinci Wine send four talented creative-types to spend a week at the Da Vinci Cantine to soak up the Tuscan lifestyle and learn all about Da Vinci Wine. What's exciting is that you, can help determine which four will be fortunate to be called a Da Vinci Storyteller!  To make your voice heard, visit the Da Vinci Wine Facebook Page  to cast your vote.  And, while you're there, take a peek at the previous Storytellers and what they've shared from their "Experiences."  Grab a class of Chianti and andiamo (let's go!)!


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