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There’s nothing better than a frozen treat on a sweltering summer day. The only questions is, what are you going to have – ice cream or Italian gelato? Hold on, we know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t gelato exactly the same as ice cream?” In order to answer that question we must first answer – How is gelato made? If you’re interested in learning about the subtleties between these two cone-fulls of dairy deliciousness should read on. This article will give you the low down on Italian Gelato vs Ice Cream!
How is ice cream made?
First off, ice cream makers take large amounts of cream and sugar and mix them with a smaller amount milk. Most ice cream manufacturers nowadays add a few egg yolks as well. This concoction is cooked until it turns into a thick custard. Once this custard has been sufficiently chilled, the ice cream maker churns the custard at an extremely high speed to add a high amount of air. People in the ice cream business call this fast churning process “overrun.” The high-end ice creams you see in your supermarket tend to have overrun rates of around 25% (meaning 25% of the ice cream’s volume is air), but cheaper ice creams can have overruns as high as 90 percent. Since this churning process injects a ton of air into the custard mixture, ice cream has an extremely fluffy consistency.
How is gelato made?
On the other hand, gelato (which literally means “frozen” in Italian) is made with more milk and sugar than ice cream. As you might’ve already guessed, gelato has less cream than ice cream. Of course, you’d expect a product called ice cream to have more cream, right? As for egg yolks, most gelato mixtures don’t contain them. All gelati are churned at a much slower rate than ice cream custards are. This slower churning makes it difficult for air to get into the blend, which makes the finished product silky in texture and pungent in flavor.
Do gelato and ice cream taste the same?
OK, now you’re an expert on making these frozen concoctions. Congrats. But you want to know how they taste, right? Most people that taste this Italian delicacy for the first time are taken aback by its powerful flavor. In contrast to ice creams, which tend to be more creamy and smooth, gelato has a more “intense” flavor and a softer texture. Also, gelato is always served at a warmer temperature than ice cream. Ice cream, as you probably already know, is served chilled to the bone.
For the uninitiated, eating Italy’s favorite summertime dessert is an almost religious experience. We’re not kidding. As the silky cream of this Italian indulgence hits your palate, you’ll be able to describe Paradise almost as well as Dante Alighieri. There’s no better way to cool off as you’re walking around Rome, Venice, or Florence than with a sweet gelato or two…or three. On your next trip to Italy, be sure to check out one of these 10 best Gelato shops in Italy for yourself and see how it compares!