The Snow Trade and Ice-Cream Experience is a unique cultural and culinary adventure. Go off the beaten path and taste the local flavours!
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the twin hill towns of Cammarata and San Giovanni Gemini in Sicily became famous for their traveling ice cream and granita makers, thanks to the collection and preservation of snow. The key to this industry was the neviere, circular buildings resembling stone igloos, which were used to store snow that was later used to make ice cream and granita.
The neviere were constructed on the forested slopes above the towns, and the snow was shovelled inside and trodden down until it turned into a thick layer of ice. Then, a mat of rushes and straw was laid on top of the ice, followed by another layer of snow. The snow was stored in this manner and kept frozen for months. The blocks of ice became very valuable and precious in the hot summer months. As a result, they had to be carefully guarded.
Today, a local family of ice cream makers has mapped several of the neviere in the region. These circular buildings have become a popular tourist attraction for those who want to experience the snow trade and learn about Sicilian ice cream and granita. Guided tours are the best way to see the neviere, as they offer visitors the opportunity to explore the circular structures, learn about the history of the snow trade, and discover how ice cream and granita are made.
During a tour, visitors can learn about the process of making ice cream and granita using the snow collected in the neviere. The tour also includes a visit to a small private ice museum, where visitors can see antique ice cream-making equipment and learn about the history of the ice cream industry.
In addition to learning about the history of the snow trade and the ice cream industry, visitors can also enjoy a delightful culinary experience during a guided tour. The tour includes a lunch of cold cuts, local cheeses, and grilled meat and vegetables at a charming family-run café. Visitors can savour the flavours of traditional Sicilian cuisine and experience the hospitality of the locals.
The snow trade and ice cream experience is a fascinating and unique way to learn about the history and culture of Sicily. It offers visitors the opportunity to see the neviere, learn about the process of making ice cream and granita, and enjoy the flavors of traditional Sicilian cuisine. The tour is perfect for those who want to experience the local culture and immerse themselves in the history of the region.
Visitors who want to experience the snow trade and ice cream culture can also participate in workshops to learn how to make Sicilian granita and ice cream. These workshops provide a hands-on experience that allows visitors to learn the techniques used to make these delicious desserts. Participants can also taste their creations.
In conclusion, the snow trade and ice cream experience in Cammarata and San Giovanni Gemini is a unique and fascinating way to learn about the history and culture of Sicily. The neviere, guided tours, and culinary experiences offer visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture, learn about the snow trade and ice cream industry, and enjoy the flavours of traditional Sicilian cuisine. Whether you are a foodie, a history buff, or simply looking for a unique and unforgettable experience, the snow trade and ice cream culture in Sicily is an experience you will not want to miss.