During World War II, ice cream became a staple of summertime. According to statistics, 90% of American households consume ice cream, and from its multiple flavors to its abundance of toppings, it serves as the largest form of dessert. Still, gelato continues to gain popularity and some stores that traditionally offer ice cream now have gelato too. But what are the differences that set these two iced treats apart?
All ice cream is water that freezes to form a hard small, hard crystals. These crystals come packed with sugar, air and fats to give the cream its texture. But compared to Gelato, ice cream is churned to increase its volume. High-end ice creams increase by 25%, while cheaper, less flavorful treats contain a 50% to 90% volume increase. Compared to ice cream, gelato is churned slower, meaning it contains much less air in its base to provide a more flavorful volume per spoon.
Gelato typically contains less fat. Because gelato uses more milk than cream, its contents will provide less fat to the consumer than ice cream. Ice cream, too, uses more egg yolks to give it a higher fat consistency per volume. Still, that isn’t to say that gelato should be eaten in abundance. Not at all. Gelato still contains plenty of sugar that can be dangerous to your health and should be consumed in moderation.
While you could store ice cream inside of gelato pan liners for serving, you would still need to place gelato in a different temperature. Compared to ice cream, gelato is served at a higher temperature. Ice cream, typically served at 10°F, melts when placed in a warmer environment, while gelato remains consistent. However, if you place gelato in a colder environment, it turns harder and lumpier.
If you had two tasting spoons, one with gelato and the other with ice cream, would you be able to guess which one is the better tasting? Gelato is more flavorful because it contains less air. Still, its flavor may be appealing for some and not for others. But like ice cream, gelato comes in multiple flavors to offer a bit of appeal to everyone.
So while its taste and freezing point may differ, both provide a flavorful treat for after dinner or lunch. And like ice cream, gelatos dominance will continue to rise and earn its place as another staple of American culture via Italy.