What is the difference between gelato and ice cream?

[fa icon="calendar"] Jul 28, 2016 12:22:57 PM / by Roberta Oddati

Roberta Oddati

what is the difference between gelato and ice cream


If you love ice cream, then you may have also tried gelato. But are you stuck asking yourself if gelato and ice cream are the same? You love both. So you’re curious to know what the difference really is between the two. Gelato is an Italian word for ice cream. If you researched this, you might end up wondering why they’re not the same thing if word itself translates into ice cream. Hint: the difference is not just the ice cream and gelato plastic containers that they are served in. There actually is a big difference when it comes to texture and taste. When comparing the two, it comes down to the fat and sugar content, air and serving temperature. So what is the difference between gelato and ice cream?


How they're made

In order to compare gelato and ice cream, we have to go back to the drawing board and compare how the two are made. Ice cream is mostly water. As most of us know, when water freezes, it will form hard and crunchy ice crystals. When ice cream is made, the goal is to keep those crystals as small as possible. By using various ingredients and techniques, this goal is achieved. Fat like milk is added in order to mix between the water and molecules so that it interferes with the freezing process. Sugar is also mixed in to form a physical barrier during the crystallisation process. Air is then incorporated during the churning process so the ice cream will have a fluffier and denser texture. Throw in some flavors and your ice cream is good to go. There are also some other ingredients that are thrown in to even make the ice cream softer such as protein from eggs and milk, alcohol and other ingredients. 


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how is gelato different?

However, gelato is made differently than ice cream. For starters, when making gelato, it uses more milk than cream so it does not have that much fat content when compared to ice cream. But how can you spot great gelato? Gelato is also churned slower than ice cream, so less air is being introduced to its base which will add more taste when eating gelato. Gelato also has a more intense flavor than ice cream because it has less cold fat, and the flavors will quickly melt in your mouth. All of the differences in the way gelato is made gives it a more dense and milky texture than traditional fat heavy ice creams. Finalizing the amazing experience of gelato by eating it from a artsy customized plastic container.



Gelato is also served at a higher temperature rate than ice cream. If you freeze gelato, then it will become very hard. However, if it is stored at a slightly warmer temperature, then it will maintain its soft and perfect consistency. If you decide to store ice cream in a slightly warmer temperature, it will melt and will be watery since the high fat content in water emulsion will melt faster. 

Gelato is best eaten in the store since it is served in the right temperature for that perfect consistency. Eating at a parlor can be a fun experience, as they are sometimes known for having very artistic customized plastic container for gelato. On the other hand, ice cream is best enjoyed at home with the family. Storing it in the freezer and serving it after a meal is the best way to enjoy it.


Topics: ice cream, gelato

Roberta Oddati

Written by Roberta Oddati

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