Gelato originated in Italy, and its becoming a growing craze in many countries around the world now. Gelaterias are slowly but surely popping up in different area, but in many places outside Europe a scoop of gelato costs more than a scoop of ice cream. People often wonder, “Why is it more expensive than ice cream?” or better yet, “Why call it gelato? Why don’t they just call it ice cream?”. After all, they seem to be the same thing. They’re both cold desserts, they both look similar, and they’re both eaten the same way. What’s the difference between gelato and ice cream?
Gelato is the word for “ice cream” in italian. In that sense, gelato IS ice cream. However, the ice cream that we refer to as “ice cream” is AMERICAN ice cream (henceforth known as ice cream), which has a number of different characteristics from gelato.
What is the difference between gelato and ice cream?
PRODUCTION. Gelato is often produced artisanally. It’s produced and frozen in small batches. Ice cream, on the other hand, is often produced in a commercial assembly line type of production.
STORAGE. Ice cream can last for months in storage, and is served frozen. Whereas gelato can only last a few weeks in specially designed and carefully calibrated freezers, and are served slightly less frozen.
OVERAGE. Overage is the air incorporated into the mixture during churning. Commercial ice cream can have as much as 50% churned into it! Gelato, on the other hand has, at most 30% (but it’s usually less than 10%) air. If you melt an equal cup of gelato and ice cream, you’ll end up with more gelato in your cup than ice cream.
FAT. Gelato has LESS fat as compared to ice cream. While commercial ice cream can have around 10% to 16% fat, gelato on average has about 5% fat.
FLAVOR & TEXTURE. Because of the less fat and air in gelato, the flavors in gelato are more intense than ice cream. Also, the texture is much much creamier. The sugar in gelato prevents it from totally freezing, which causes the creamier texture. Sometimes, asian countries have slightly harder gelato because they find traditional italian gelato much too sweet, so they lessen the sugar. Commercial ice cream’s texture is slightly more watery and the flavor of ice cream is often not as intense as gelato.
I personally love walking into gelaterias when i see them. Gelaterias often take extra care in showcasing their product with beautiful designs. I believe that aside from the taste, selling gelato is also part selling its visual image. Because gelato is made in small batches, gelato makers can easily take artistic liberties to visually appeal to their buyers by making their product more attractive. I know i’d buy beautiful and tasty gelato!
I hope my article has helped you understand the difference between gelato and ice cream. Thank you for reading!