Gelato vs Ice Cream: What’s the Difference?

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Gelato vs Ice Cream, do you know the difference?

One of the questions we always get is “what’s the difference between gelato and ice cream” or also “is there a real difference between gelato and ice cream?”.

First of all, let me get this straight: gelato and ice cream are different, a lot, both in terms of production and outcome.

This may sound strange to you, but as a matter of fact gelato is one thing and ice cream another thing and if you pay attention you surely can recognise where each of them stand in the market.

In this guide, we wanna explain the differences between gelato and ice cream and give you an overview of both of them.

What’s ice cream?

Ice cream is basically a dairy dessert made mostly of milk, sugar, eggs and cream. The ingredients are worked at a high speed to incorporate as much air as possible and this also means an increase in the volume.

The final product is rich and creamy and it’s always served at a cold temperature.

The ice cream tends to melt easily because of the fat and has to be served at a temperature of 17-32°F (-8-2°C).

What is gelato?

Gelato is an Italian word and it defines a particular type of product, specifically made by using a patented process.

Unlike the ice cream, gelato doesn’t contain a lot fat and it’s not as fluffy as the ice cream because in the making of it, incorporating air is just a small part and doesn’t have any impact on the final product.

This happens because cream is not used in the making of gelato (and if it’s used, it’s only in a very limited amount); apart from this, it’s also worth noticing that in the making of gelato the ingredients are worked together very slowly and this helps in giving this product its texture.

Gelato has to be served cold but not iced at a temperature of 7-9°F (-12-13°C).

Where does gelato come from?

The history of gelato begins in the Renaissance in Florence, with alchemist Cosimo Ruggieri, who is credited with creating the first gelato flavor, the fior di latte.

Where does ice cream come from?

It’s said that the ice cream has debuted in the United States in 1744, but it became a common treat at the end of the 19th century.

Gelato vs ice cream: main differences

Based on the above, we can safely say that:

Ice cream is more milky and fluffy and tends to be also more rich in terms of sugar if compared with the gelato which is more natural and you can easily taste its flavour and its intensity.

Traditionally the ice cream is served with a scoop while the real gelato is served with a spade, a flatter spoon that looks like a spatula.

What’s the best? Gelato or ice cream?

It’s impossible to state if gelato is better than ice cream or vice versa: Italians love a good gelato and in Italy people always experiment with new flavours and combination to make sure the gelato culture will not get lost.

And you can seriously say if you’re eating an ice cream, which often looks and tastes cheap, or a gelato, which can easily be considered gourmet when ingredients and methods are of a certain type.

As a matter of fact, today in Italy you can find really experimental “gelati” which combine different ingredients and, most of all, local ingredients that are enhanced precisely in the form of gelato.

Let’s be clear: we’re not endorsing one or the other here, even if for us gelato is always the choice.

Next time you’re looking for something sweet and cold remember the difference between ice cream and gelato and make your choice which is often the choice between a very good and excellent product and a mediocre one.

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Categories: Food Tips
Article written by Veruska Anconitano aka La Cuochina Sopraffina
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