Gelato is Italian ice cream but it’s so much more. First of all it is made differently. Gelato has three differences from ice cream:
- Fat – Gelato uses less of it. Fat is important to slow down crystallization.
- Sugar – Since recipes vary greatly for both ice cream and gelato, sugar is about the same. We have noticed in Italy in general things are made with less sugar than in America.
- Temperature – Gelato is served at higher temperatures than ice cream. It is similar to American custards. If you freeze gelato it will turn hard as ice.
Gelato stores exist in just about every city in Italy. In big cities like Rome, they seem to be on every street. Typically you enter the store and look at the many selections of gelato they have. They will let you taste a few. Then you go to the cashier and tell them what you are having. How many scoops and cone or cup. You pay and get a receipt. Next take it back to the gelato counter and give it to a server and tell them what flavors you want. They hand you your delicious gelato.
Italians usually eat it standing and talking or walking the streets. Some stores have small seating areas. Gelato is good on a hot summer day but it is also great in the winter. Its soft texture and strong pure flavors are so much better than ice cream. The color of gelato is from what fruit or nut is in it. The ingredients get ground up and color the gelato. If you get strawberry for example, there are no chunks of strawberry in it. The strawberry have been ground up and color the gelato red. Every bite has a wonderful strawberry flavor. Our favorite is Nocciola, a hazelnut gelato. The hazelnuts turn the gelato a light brown. Each bite has a wonderful hazelnut flavor.
If you are headed to Italy, you must try their gelato. It will calm you and bring a smile to your face.
George & Jo Anne