Difference Between Gelato and Ice Cream

Gelato vs Ice Cream

When people visit Italy they get a chance to savor a special dessert called gelato. It looks and tastes like ice-cream, which is why not many think of it as anything different from ice-cream. But the very fact there are gelato parlors next to ice-cream parlors is enough to suggest that there are differences between the two sweet desserts. If you are an American, and always thought of gelato as a variation of ice-cream, this article may be an eye opener for you.

There are differences in churning methods, fat content and the serving temperature that make all the difference in the taste and flavor of gelato. Those who have eaten gelato know that it is softer than ice cream, and also melts faster in your mouth, but not many know why this happens.

To be called ice cream in the country, the dessert must have at least 10% fat. Even low quality ice creams have fat content close to 11-12%, whereas high quality ice creams have around 16% fat content. This is the notable difference between ice cream and gelato. Because of a higher milk to cream ration, the fat content in gelato is anywhere between 3-8%. This is why it does not stick inside your mouth like ice cream does. Another differentiation that the lower fat content makes is that, it does not saturate the taste buds, and the strong flavors have an opportunity to emerge. With low fat content, gelato does not coat around the tongue as ice cream does, and this is how flavors in gelato look so intense.

Another notable difference lies in air content. Whereas, ice creams have as much as 50% air, gelato has no air added to it. However, some air naturally gets incorporated because of the churning process. Churning process of gelato is also different, it’s slower than churning of ice cream. Ice cream is served frozen but gelato is stored and served at a higher temperature so when you get it in a cone, it is not actually frozen. As far as appearance is concerned, gelato looks more like frozen yogurt than ice cream (to some it looks like a whipped cream than ice cream).

In brief:

Gelato vs Ice Cream

• Gelato is an Italian dessert that looks like ice cream

• Gelato has lesser fat content (3-8%) than ice cream (minimum 10%)

• Gelato has very little air inside it, whereas ice cream has almost half of air as content

• Gelato is stored and served at temperatures higher than freezing temperatures of ice cream.

• Gelato tastes more intense than ice cream