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'Ice Cream season' in Polizzi Generosa

Posted by Suzanne Turrisi on 31 May 2019



Calling in to Bar Cristallo

It was still very cool spring weather the day my husband and I  left Polizzi Generosa, in mid May, after a few weeks in Sicily. And before we headed to the car, we stopped by Bar Cristallo, just down from the house on the main street, for a coffee.

Bar Cristallo, is almost opposite the imposing, 17th early 18th century, former Jesuit Monastery which is now the office of Polizzi's town hall. And, to one side of the bar - quite a classic retro style Sicilian bar – there is one of the long flights of stone stairs that join upper and lower parts of ancient Polizzi.


'Gelato season' in Polizzi

Alfredo, the gracious owner, was behind the bar, and in the small refrigerated cabinet on the right of the entry were trays of ice cream. Made in house, by Alfredo it was a nod to the coming of warmer weather and the longed for summer in the mountains.

Up here in the mountains, away from the tourist spots, ice cream really is pretty seasonal. Don't expect it much before May and it is gone by late September. There is a sort of ‘ice cream season'.

Alfredo normally fills his ice cream fridge with trays of classic flavours by the end of April but this year he had it ready on May 1st,  the weather had been a bit too cool for serious ice cream sales before that.

And the fridge will be empty just after the festival of Polizzi’s beloved patron saint, San Gandolfo, which is always the third weekend in September.

Trays including panna (cream), fragola (strawberry), pistacchio (pistachio), nocciola (hazelnut), zuppa inglese (English trifle), stracciatella (chocolate chip) plus more filled the counter fridge. And one with a slice of lemon had to be a classic Sicilian lemon sorbetto.


Gaspare's hazelnut gelato

We decided to have a gelato, a tub of nocciola (hazelnut). Smooth and lovely. Alfredo said that the hazelnuts came from somewhere in the north of Italy, in answer to my question, were they from Polizzi?.

To think Polizzi used to be a village known for its commercially grown hazelnuts, years ago now. It had groves and groves of this delicious little nut and Polizzi holds a yearly, days' long festival in August called, The Hazelnut Festival!


A tiny shrine

When we left Bar Cristallo, to head to the Palermo for a mid afternoon flight to Rome, we took the long flight of steps next to the old monastery and in a tiny cortile, about half way down the stairs, there was a dedicated shrine to San Gandolfo on the wall of one the houses.






Edited 1/2/2020 Please note: I have just realised that I wrote that the owner of Bar Cristallo (who I spoke with for this blog) was Gaspare. But it is Alfredo. Gaspare was Alfredo's business partner and he has been deceased for a few years now. I am sorry for any confusion. Suzanne


P.S  There will be more Sicily (and Rome) notes, stories and photos from these weeks away in coming monthly blogposts. Suzanne

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