What Is Gelato?

by Jul 3, 2021Fun

We all scream for ice cream, but what about gelato?  Many have heard the name before, but there is a sizeable portion of the American population out there missing out on the experience.  Those who have had it can’t quite put their finger on why it is so remarkably different, yet shares similar joy in experiencing ice cream.

Gelato is known for its softer, smoother, thicker and slower melting traits.  The taste is also notably less heavy on the fat, but still big on flavor.  It does depend on what kind you get, but ice cream will always contain more fat and more air than gelato.  Now, this isn’t to say that ice cream lovers won’t fall in love with gelato’s richness or texture in the same fashion that they did with as ice cream ever since they could eat solid foods as a baby.  These cold treats are heavenly in their own rights, so you aren’t going to get a “which is better” answer out of this story.

Making Gelato and Ice Cream

The process of each frozen treat is what gives them such different profiles.  Ice cream is about the cream, churning it fast, whipping in that light, rich texture.  Gelato is comparably much more methodical and uses more milk than cream for the base, making it much more dense and smoother on texture.  When you watch gelato being made in Italian kitchens, you can see it take on an almost taffy appearance in weight. 

So, while ice cream does have that iconic, velvety, and buttery texture, gelato is considered to be a more sophisticated, impactful, and long-lasting experience by nature.  Ice cream is decadent and almost hypnotic in character, while gelato is like having a dance with your taste buds.  Gelato is the perfect texture, consistency, and temperature to deliver bold flavors with little filler.  The low fat content also makes it a bit healthier than ice cream, but that is another discussion altogether, of course.

Importance of the Craft

Both frozen treats require a certain level of finesse to accomplish great flavors and textures.  With gelato, you need to be careful with temperatures and portion sizes even more so than ice cream.  It can’t be too cold or it will be hard as a rock, but too warm and it will lose its integrity.  Gelato should also not be served in huge bowls like ice cream, due to its higher density.  It is possible to have too much gelato, just as with ice cream, you don’t want to ruin a good experience with a stomach ache.

It’s a good idea to have separate serving cups for gelato ice cream.  It really does improve the experience of it when you have special ice cream supplies to highlight the occasion. 

So, instead of using cheap Styrofoam bowls and plastic spoons for picnic-wear, try serving gelato in perfect, personalized, and proportioned containers.  It will be a much more authentic Italian experience.