What is GELATO?
Although comparable in appearance and texture to Ice Cream, the similarity ends there. Gelato is unique in three distinct ways:
1. Gelato is made from milk (3.25% butterfat) versus cream (10% to 18% butterfat) used to produce ice “cream”. In spite of containing up to 75% less butterfat than ice cream, Gelato maintains a rich, creamy texture.
Gelato Sorbet or Sorbetto (most often the fruit flavors), contains NO MILK (less than 1% fat!), making it ideal for those with lactose intolerance to enjoy a smooth velvety frozen dessert!
2. Traditional ice cream has 80% to 100% air injected into the freezing process; by comparison, Gelato has only 30% to 40% air, resulting in a denser, more flavorful product. This also explains why Gelato melts at a slower rate than ice cream (60% less air between the molecules), and why the product is measured by weight versus by volume (less = more). Because of its density, it allows it to be served at slightly higher temperatures than ice cream.
3. Gelato is made using natural ingredients, such as fresh fruit and fruit purees in the Sorbetto, cocoa powder for chocolate, real nuts crushed into pastes, peanut butter, etc…, whereas ice cream is flavored using artificial flavor concentrates.
Because Gelato flavors are unique in their ingredients and individual characteristics (i.e. milk fat, nut fat, fruit sugar content, etc…) each flavor freezes at a slightly different temperature, whereas commercial ice cream flavors freeze at the same temperature. This explains why Gelato is displayed in specialized display cases which include fans that create air flow, and adjustable temperature settings.
The very essence of Gelato production makes it artisanal by nature. Hundreds of recipes and flavors are possible; one can create flavors which appeal to any demographic, ethnicity or regional appeal. And it is all about the presentation, which is a delight to behold when one enters a truly authentic gelateria.