by Melinda Gallo

Gelato and granita together

I have always loved mixing a fruit gelato, like mango, with a creamy gelato, like crema or fior di latte. When I go to the Gelateria dei Neri, that's what I generally get. I normally, however, never have a granita (a watery fruit sorbet) because I found them either too sweet or too slushy. And, the flavors that are usually available non mi fa gola (don't tempt me).

After having an aperitivo with my friends Sara and Sheila, I went to get a gelato at Carabé in via Ricasoli with Sara. Unfortunately, Sheila missed our gelato excursion because she had to get up early.

Sara and I had walked by this gelateria just the other night with our husbands, but we had already eaten a gelato at Grom minutes before. Sara had told me about the wonderful granita, but I was not very motivated to try it.

When Sara mentioned Carabé again tonight, I figured I'd give it a try.

We arrived in the little gelateria and I looked at all the flavors. There was a French couple in front of us and I overheard the guy behind the counter tell him in English how to eat the gelato that he prepared for him. He told him to go to the bottom of the cup and scoop some up and then add some of the gelato with it.

I didn't quite understand his instructions, so I asked the French guy in French what he had. He told me that he had the almond granita with pistachio gelato. It sounded interesting and he told me that I should definitely taste the almond granita because it was incredible.

When the guy came to help me, I asked him, "Posso avere una granita con gelato?" (Can I have a granita with ice cream). I didn't know if it was common or if there was a name for it, so I figured that I'd ask and find out what he would respond. "Certo, come posso dirti di no?" (Certainly, how could I say no to you). I then asked him how to pick the flavors and he told me to pick a granita and then he'd tell me which gelato would go with it.

I picked lampone (raspberry) granita and he said that I could get either crema, yogurt, or straciatella (chocolate chip). I told him that I'd try crema, but he said, "Puoi avere più gusti se vuoi. Se ti va, ti aggiungo anche yogurt." (You can have more flavors if you want. If you'd like, I can add yogurt too.) "OK, perfetto," I responded.

He gave me the same instructions he gave the French guy in Italian. In my cup, the lampone granita was on the bottom and the crema and yogurt gelati were on top.

I took a bite the second he let go of my cup. The lampone granita was fruity and the crema gelato was thick and flavorful; it was a perfect match. I thanked him profusely and said, "Ma questo è veramente buonissimo!" (This is really good). He smiled and said, "Mi fa piacere." (That's good).

We ate our gelati slowly as we walked down the middle of a rather empty via Ricasoli toward the Duomo. The whole time I kept thinking about when I'd make it back to this part of town for another gelato/granita.

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