The difference between gelato and ice cream in a few words
One of the questions I 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: there’s a different and also more than one. Gelato is one thing and ice cream another thing and if you pay attention you surely can recognize where each of them stand in the market.
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’s also a particular product where there’s no much fat such as in the ice cream and the final result is dense and not too fluffy. This happens because there’s no cream used in the gelato (and if there’s it’s in a very limited amount) and the ingredients are worked together very slowly so that there’s no pumped in. Gelato has to be served cold but not iced at a temperature of 7-9°F (-12-13°C).
More to know about the difference between gelato and ice cream
The 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; 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.
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 decide 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 we’re talking about ice cream, which often looks and tastes cheap, or gelato, which can easily be considered gourmet when ingredients and methods are of a certain type.
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.