As part our Grazie series we’re taking a closer look at the most exciting artists, designers, chefs and creatives inspired by Italian style. It’s a universally accepted fact that Italian food is some of the best in the world – and for food blogger Andrea Sorandis, the taste of Italy is the taste of home. Currently based in London, Andrea creates, writes about and photographs delicious recipes from Italy and the wider world on her fantastic blog, The Petite Cook. To help us celebrate the arrival of summer, we asked Andrea to create a simple and refreshing lemon granita recipe for us – the perfect sweet treat to pair with a cold Peroni Nastro Azzurro. Read below to check out the recipe and discover Andrea’s thoughts on summer escapes, her favourite foods and why Italian food is so special.

Hi Andrea. Can you tell us about yourself and what you do?

I grew up in Italy, but I’ve been living in London for the past ten years. After a long career in the marketing field I realised I loved cooking too much, so I opened my blog The Petite Cook. Here I share all my Italian cooking heritage, my foodie experiences, and my adventures around the world.

What inspired you start The Petite Cook?

A few years ago, I used to be the marketing manager of a recipe app. It was a start-up, so I tried to grow our database by creating as many new recipes as possible. I also started studying cooking techniques and learning more about food in general. Quickly, I completely fell in love with this world, and haven’t stopped cooking since. I travel a lot, so I'm mostly inspired by the places I visit, and the place where I grew up, my beloved Italy.

What do you think makes Italian food and dining so special?

I think the special value of Italian food and dining lays within its simplicity, and the amazing quality of the natural products we're lucky to have all around Italy. We cherish our food by sharing it with the people we love, and we love sharing our food with anyone who loves food, so every dining occasion is a real feast.

What are some of your favourite Italian dishes?

My mum’s Eggplant Spaghetti Sandwiches (Sicilian Doppiette di Melanzane) are the best thing in the world. They’re simple but so unique, you have to try it at least once in your life. Check out the recipe on my blog and you won’t be disappointed. Most Italian recipes are made with few simple ingredients, so the secret is to always use the best, freshest ingredients you can find.

Can you tell us a bit about the granita recipe you’ve created for us?

Growing up in Sicily, granita is a must-have during summertime. Lemon granita has a special place in my heart – it's refreshing, tangy but sweet at the same time, incredibly simple to make and so satisfying to eat on a hot summer day. And it's perfect paired with a cold Peroni for a quick aperitivo! 

Ingredients:

freshly squeeze juice of 6 medium organic lemons
220gr white sugar
1 liter water

Serves: 6 Time: 3h

Method:

In a large bowl, stir together the water with freshly squeezed lemon juice and sugar, until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Transfer the lemon mixture into a large metal container, cover and put in the freezer for half an hour.
With the help of a wooden spoon, stir vigorously the lemon mixture to break any ice crystals.
Repeat every 30 min for 2-3 times, or until your granita has reached a velvety sorbet-like texture.
You can alternatively blend the mixture with a hand blender every 30 min.
Once the granita is ready, make sure to serve immediately. Lemon granita is great on its own, and even better paired with a super chilled Peroni Nastro Azzurro

Describe your perfect Italian summer.

A loud group of friends, a boat-tour of the Aeolian Islands and eating as much local food as possible.

What do you think sets Italian style apart from the rest of the world?

I think it’s the effortlessly easy way we approach life, which is reflected in our cooking just as much as in our way of living.