In the United States we are traditional ice cream eaters. For most, Gelato is a foreign language and few understand what the term actually means. Gelato is simply the Italian word for ice cream, which is made slightly different than the way we traditional make it in the States. The base for Gelato is made with milk, cream, and sugar with the flavoring coming from fruit and occasionally egg yolks. Traditionally, the main difference is that eggs are not used in the recipe. In Italy Gelato is wildly popular and has been slowly making it’s way around the world. Recent studies show that the trend is beginning to catch on here in the US as sales rose from approximately $10 million in the early 2000’s to nearly $214 million in total sales at the end of 2014. This huge interest in this delicious Italian version of ice cream has single handily kept the frozen desert industry alive according to many industry experts. For years, I have loved making ice cream at home with traditional ingredients and recently decided to learn how to make the Italian version of my favorite dish. As a long-time ice cream lover, there’s something about the cold, smooth, and fruity texture of Gelato that really perks up my taste buds. As I kid I can still recall make ice cream from scratch at my grandmas house in the South. Down there, this was a tradition of theses, and back in the day the only way you could eat ice cream at home. Nowadays times have changed, and anyone can simply go to the grocery store and choose between hundreds, and in some cases thousands of different flavors of this delicious treats.
As Gelato gains popularity in the United States, I decided to dig deep and learn the secrets of the ancient tradition. From my research, it appears the main difference between Gelato and traditional ice cream has to do with the consistency. Ice cream has a thinker consistency due to the heavier cream content and the use of egg yolks. It’s Italian counterpart has a more smooth consistency that feels more gourmet and homemade. In fact, over the years it has gained a reputation as being hand made in small batches which is popular in the more ritzy and trendy areas of the country. Plus, anytime something is new or different then your standard fare, there will always be a level of excitement that surrounds it.
In Itally, the history of Gelato ice cream has a large amount of lore surrounding it. The legends say that before the advent of freezers the early ice cream makers would have to hike up into the mountains to gather snow and ice to create their delicious deserts. Nowadays, modern refrigeration allows us to create and transport these delicious recipes anywhere in the world. As time has passed, the traditional recipes have evolved. Some choose to add egg yolks and other non-traditional ingredients, while the purest refuse to deviate from the original recipe. If your looking to excite your taste buds with a unique twist on traditional ice cream then give Gelato a try.