Saturday, July 2, 2011


The New York weather has kicked off it’s hot, thick, smelly, sticky summer party. It makes you kind of lazy, in need of a shot of caffeine — but nothing too hot. It’s definitely iced coffee weather.

Granita di caffé is an Italian specialty, a variant of iced coffee unlike any you’ve ever had. Like a snow cone for adults, it’s Italian shaved ice laced with espresso and a bit of sugar, sandwiched between two heaping scoops of unsweetened panna.

Tazza d’Oro is known to have some of the best granita di caffé in all of Rome, but I was told of a place that was even better. Described as small and “ugly” (though to my eyes, it was still quaint as ever) — it was a low frill kind of place. But many Italians agreed, it had the best granita di caffé. So I crossed the bridge to Trastevere, a youthful bohemian district of Rome full of art galleries, boutiques, and cafes.

I found Bar San Calisto on a little street off of Piazza di Santa Maria (and a gorgeous church worth going into). A tiny bar full of locals. The granita di caffé was rich and strong, the espresso soaking each bite, and the homemade panna providing the perfect balance. Simple, yet divine, and perfect for a summer day.

If you can’t make it to Rome, the Washington Post has a recipe here; it’s easy to prepare at home.

Also in the neighborhood: Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica in Palazzo Corsini, housing a lovely Caravaggio — amongst other works — and Villa Farnesina, with gorgeous frescoes completed by Raphael. It’s also fun to wander, popping into the art galleries and boutiques featuring local designers.

One Response to “COFFEE 101 – GRANITA DI CAFFE”

  1. Mechella Jul 03, 2011

    Granita di caffé sounds so yummy! I love panna and would order a dollop of it on my gelato when in Rome…Trastevere is just plain cool–it’s so down-to-earth and relaxing. If you decide to make a Granita di caffé call me over! xx