In Sicily, granita is both sacred and ubiquitous according to Paolo Gatto, owner Pari Pasticceria in Concord.
In Italy, the flavoured ice-crystal dish is an all-day thing. In the morning Sicilians eat granita café con panna (coffee granita with thick cream) and brioche. After lunch and dinner, chocolate, strawberry, lemon and the nutty, slightly grainy almond is typically ordered. Ingredients used to make it at Pari Pasticceria are coffee, toasted pistachio or fresh fruit. There’s also pastalatante, a sweet, textured paste made from the almonds that flourish on Sicily’s famous volcano, Mount Etna.
The other part – a delicately sweet, chewy brioche – isn’t a component of granita itself, but is essential to the ritual.
There is also an assortment of sweets and savouries available here. There are substantial dishes, such as a rich breakfast meatball pot served with poached eggs and parmesan, and the rosticceria offering is a good representation of Sicilian street food.
Try the cipolline, an oversized pastry triangle filled with smoked ham, fior di latte (a semi-soft fresh cheese made in the style of mozzarella), caramelised white onions and olives. And the pastries, made by pastry chef and Gatto’s godson Giuseppe.
Tables and chairs are a pale periwinkle blue, matching the patisserie’s gold and blue colour scheme, and outside on the wide footpath the pleasant sound of Italians chatting floats above the din of passing traffic.