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The Difference Between Traditional Ice Cream & Authentic Italian Gelato | Creamery Twist

The Difference Between Traditional Ice Cream & Authentic Italian Gelato


If you have been to Italy, then you probably have tried sitting in an ‘ice cream parlor’ eating Gelato. Yes, this is what I’ve heard from most Americans who have tried eating gelato. Is gelato an Italian term for ice cream? While they both look and taste delicious, they are different. There are few differences between these two yummy treats. The differences between a traditional ice cream and an authentic Italian gelato come down to three major factors: fat, air and serving temperature.

Fat content

Traditional ice cream contains egg yolks. It has a minimum of 10 percent fat. Initially, American-style ice dream did not use yolks, but eventually uses them as a new standard. On the other hand, gelato is less fatty than ice cream. It has a higher proportion of milk and a lower proportion of eggs or no eggs at all and cream. Gelato contains around five to seven percent fat.

Air factor

Traditional ice cream is mixed fast and hard to whip plenty of air. It is easy to whip plenty of air into an ice cream mixture because of the high proportion of cream in the base. High-end ice cream have an air (called overrun) of 25 percent, which means that the volume increased by 25 percent. Cheap commercial ice creams have an overrun of 50 to 90 percent, which gives the ice cream a light, thin and fast-melting texture. Gelato is mixed at a slow speed which incorporates less air into the base. In fact, it contains less than 20 percent air in the mixture. That is the reason why gelato is denser than ice cream.

Serving temperature

Ice cream is normally served frozen at around 10°F. Also, it must be stored in a freezer to prevent it from melting. If you store ice cream in a warmer temperature, it will get soupy because the high fat in water mixture will melt quickly. Meanwhile, gelato is served at a warmer temperature than ice cream, making it super-soft and almost elastic texture. If you freeze the gelato, it will turn into a dense, low-fat brick. When warm, gelato give a perfect soft but not soupy texture.

The next time you sit in a parlour for a scoop of an authentic Italian gelato, you should try to think of how it tastes in your mouth and remembers the basic differences of ice cream and gelato. Without knowing the differences, you might have thought that gelato tastes better than ice cream because you were able to enjoy it in a parlour with good ambiance compared to having an ice cream in your couch.


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