A TOP gelato maker will be heading to coastal Sicily this weekend to compete in the Nivarata festival.

Seb Cole, of Boho Gelato, in Poole Valley, Brighton, is jetting over as part of the Brighton and Hove Food and Drink Festival’s international chef exchange.

Nivarata is an annual celebration of granita, a traditional Italian frozen sweet made of water, sugar and ingredients such as chocolate, pistachio and almond.

Originally made with snow from volcano Mount Etna, granita is eaten throughout the day and often served with a brioche roll as an accompaniment.

The festival attracts more than 20,000 visitors, with makers across Sicily and Italy competing to make the best granita in the world.

A competition winner will return to the UK to headline the food festival’s live food stage in September 2014.

Seb said: “It’s certainly going to be a challenge. Taking granita and gelato to Italy is like carrying coals to Newcastle.

“The best ice-cream in the world is made in Italy, however I think they’ll be excited by some of the more off-the-wall flavours I’m going to create there, as they still tend to prefer the more traditional ingredients.”

Seb will be joined by Sarah Thompson from Blackdown Sussex Spirits, who will be showcasing her award-winning artisan gin and vermouth, alongside a selection of Sussex cheeses from High Weald Dairy and chutney from Terre á Terre.