Gelato: Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions

Thanks to Italy, gelato has become one of the most decadent desserts enjoyed around the world today. The rich, bold flavors of gelato are brought on by the heavy focus of milk rather than cream. Additionally, authentic gelato rarely incorporates egg yolks in its base, but if they are included, it’s usually for flavor purposes.

But Is It Healthier Than Ice Cream?

When more cream is added within a mixture, there’s naturally going to be more butterfat. To declare ice cream, well, ice cream, it must be contain no less than 10 percent of fat content, as stated by the Food and Drug Administration. However, most ice creams contain between 15 to 25 percent fat. On the other hand, you have gelato, which contains roughly 4 to 9 percent fat. That’s a significant difference between the two.

Why Is Ice Cream’s Consistency So “Poofy”?

When ice cream is produced, a substantial amount of air is churned into the mixture. It may sound dramatic but know that when you’re eating ice cream, nearly half of what you’re ingesting is air. The reason behind this is to keep it soft and fluffy.

Then there’s gelato. The healthier alternative is churned with less than half the air that ice cream contains. Again, there’s another sizeable difference. Because of the low butterfat content, gelato doesn’t need the additional air. Moreover, you’re not sacrificing anything with there being a lower fat and air content within the mixture. As a matter of fact, the low fat means the flavors within gelato come out better.

Consider this; the high butterfat content in ice cream tends to coat the top layers of the tongue. If you’re wondering why the flavor begins to slightly fade, it’s because your palate has thick layers of semi-frozen butterfat along it. When you’re sampling ice cream flavors on those small tasting spoons at your favorite ice cream parlor, you’re going to initially taste the flavor. But, once you get a whole scoop of it, your tongue becomes a white blanket of butterfat, therefore hindering the overall experience.

How Do You Serve Gelato?

If you’ve been to a store that serves traditional gelato, you might notice that they don’t use the typical ice cream scooper. Rather, they use a tool called a spade, which essentially looks like a spatula. It’s typically used to soften the gelato up – not to mention compliment the artistry behind serving it. So, if you’re ever looking to mimic the tradition behind this glorious dessert, get those gelato pan liners and spades ready.
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