Snapshots from Rome: Granita from Gelateria del Teatro

[Photographs: Amanda Ruggeri]

As the temperatures rise in Rome, nothing could be more refreshing than a granita, Italy's answer to (and predecessor of) the American slushy. But a granita is so much more than the granular ice and fake-flavoring mixture that we've come to know in the States, especially when it's a granita like this one, from Rome's Gelateria del Teatro.

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Located near Piazza Navona, Gelateria del Teatro serves up granite and gelati made from all-natural, high-quality ingredients. Since a granita is just water that's flavored, frozen, and crushed, chemicals and preservatives taste even more obvious, while an all-natural granita, like this one, tastes simply delicious.

Flavors range from strawberry and sparkling wine to sage and raspberry, to an uber-rich dark chocolate; outside, the lucky few who have grabbed tables relax over their cones and cups, watching the passersby on the cobblestoned Via dei Coronari.

Choosing a flavor of granita is tough. Do you go with the classic lemon? Coffee? In the end, I opted for the lime-and-mint flavor, and couldn't have been happier. Bright and citrusy, it tasted exactly like a wedge of lime topped with mint. Only sweeter... and frozen. In other words, the perfect refreshment on a hot Rome day.