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A granita is a type of Italian water ice or sorbet whose texture of ice crystals is slightly more granular than that of the standard sorbet (hence the name, which means literally ‘grained’ or ‘granular’). Mark Twain first recorded it in English in his Innocents Abroad (1869): ‘people at small tables [in Venice] … smoking and taking granita (a first cousin to ice-cream)’. It soon caught on in America to such an extent that its name was anglicized to granite (the name of the rock granite comes from the related Italian granito): ‘Granites … must be frozen without beating, or even much stirring, as the design is to have a rough, icy substance’ (New York Tribune, 7 April 1887).

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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