The Differences Between Gelato and Ice Cream

With summer in full swing, your kids are going to be craving some sweet treats to cool them down. And every once in awhile you wouldn’t mind indulging in a frozen dessert as well. This is when gelato products come in handy. Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream, and many people use the two words interchangeable. However, there are actually three distinctive differences between gelato and ice cream.

  • Ice cream has a minimum of 10-percent fat, while gelato has less than 10-percent fat. In fact, most gelato fat content is around five to seven percent. This is due to the fact that gelato is made with a greater whole milk to cream proportion. The less fat in gelato doesn’t mean less taste. In fact, the lower fat amount means the gelato isn’t as solidly frozen as ice cream, allowing it to melt quicker in the mouth. This will allow you to taste its full flavor immediately. 
  • Gelato is also churned slower than ice cream, and -- unlike ice cream -- air isn’t added to the frozen dessert. This results in a denser product with a creamier and richer taste. It’s no wonder most people consider gelato a higher quality dessert than ice cream. 
  • Another difference between gelato and ice cream is that gelato is typically served a bit warmer than ice cream. While both types of frozen desserts are served below the freezing temperature, gelato is usually served 10 to 15 degrees warmer than its counterpart. Keep in mind, however, that this is usually only true in a restaurant-type setting.

How to Serve Gelato

While ice cream is fine for most occasions, consider serving gelato during a more adult setting instead. For proper serving, however, you should keep it in a freezer set a bit higher than normal. You want the gelato to remain soft and fluffy but not hard. Simply use a paddle scoop to carefully place the gelato into small, clear serving bowls or -- for a truly elegant option -- in champagne glasses and carry them out on a large tray. The gelato itself has an attractive appearance, which can be seen through the glass-serving dish. If you want to class it up even more, you can add a sprig of fresh mint on the side of the gelato.