It’s a glorious summer day, the sun is beaming, and the sweet serenade of cicadas fills the air. You yearn for a frozen treat to make this day even more perfect. Should you go for gelato or ice cream? Is there truly a distinction, or is gelato simply an elegant term for regular ice cream? While they share undeniable similarities, gelato and ice cream are, in fact, quite different. Their taste and texture may provide a clue, but the true disparities lie in the process and ingredients.
The Common Ground: Gelato vs Ice Cream
Let’s not deceive ourselves: from a distance, even the most fervent gelato enthusiasts can hardly discern the dissimilarities between these two magnificent creamy frozen desserts. Both share core ingredients such as dairy (milk and cream) and sugar, combined skillfully with fresh fruit and nut puree/paste to create refreshing deliciousness, one scoop at a time.
However, it’s the variations in these combinations that bring forth either ice cream or gelato. Ice cream, with its creamier blend, generally contains a higher fat content. Gelato, on the other hand, traditionally incorporates less cream and fat, typically ranging from 5% to 7%, compared to the usual 10% or more found in ice cream. In fact, according to the FDA, ice cream is defined as a dairy product with at least 10% of its calories coming from fat.
Ice Cream: More Cream, Less Milk
As mentioned earlier, the ratios of milk and cream in ice cream differ from those in gelato. The prevalence of cream in ice cream production means a higher fat content. However, that’s not the only contrast. Ice cream also employs egg yolks as a stabilizer, further increasing its fat content. Gelato, on the other hand, does not contain eggs.
Another disparity arises after the pasteurization process when air is incorporated during the churning phase. Ice cream incorporates considerably more air, also known as overrun, which significantly increases its volume.
Gelato: Light and Naturally Irresistible
The Italian word “gelato,” which means ice cream, has created confusion around these two concepts. Although they are often compared, they are not quite the same. In terms of ingredients, gelato typically contains a higher proportion of whole milk to cream. This lower cream content results in a lighter mixture with less fat compared to its creamier counterpart. Additionally, gelato is churned at a slower speed than ice cream, producing its famous dense consistency that is adored worldwide.
To put it into perspective, gelato typically contains between 25% to 30% air, while ice cream’s air content can reach up to 50%. In other words, you get more gelato per scoop due to its denser consistency and rich flavor. The lower air content and delicate structure give gelato its unique mouthfeel, making it a truly unmatched experience. For instance, a spoonful of our N.4 Pistachio gelato will transport your taste buds to Bronte, Italy, where the finest pistachios are sourced, turned into paste, and ultimately find their way to our jars and your table.
Is Gelato a Healthier Choice?
In short, both gelato and ice cream are frozen desserts that are usually enjoyed as treats or desserts rather than part of an everyday meal. However, a healthy diet can incorporate both ice cream and gelato, as long as they are consumed in moderation. After all, who would want to miss out on such delightful indulgence?
But let’s address the question at hand. The main differentiating factor between ice cream and gelato is their fat content. With only 4% to 9% fat compared to the usual 10% to 25% found in ice cream, gelato is usually lighter and healthier.
For instance, let’s take a look at our N.1 Vaniglia del Madagascar vanilla gelato. Per 100 ml, it contains:
- 117 kcal
- 5.2 g of fat (3.6 g is saturated)
- 15 g of carbohydrates (sugars)
- 2.6 g of proteins, and minimal salt
In contrast, popular vanilla ice cream brands have significantly different nutritional values per 100 ml:
- 195 kcal
- 11.9 g of fat
- 19.5 g of carbohydrates
- 3.4 g of protein
A 100 ml portion of traditional retail vanilla ice cream contains 50% more calories than indulging in our gelato, making gelato the clear and healthy choice.
The Verdict: Gelato Takes the Crown
We have delved into the divergences between gelato and ice cream in terms of ingredients and production. We have also learned that, portion for portion, gelato is indeed the healthier option. However, we hold an inherent bias towards our fresh and light Italian gelato.
What a delectable debate! Hasn’t it made you crave a scoop of gelato? What are you waiting for? Visit our shop and savor the goodness firsthand!