Gelato. What a beautiful, drool-worthy word. We all love it/are itching to try it, but what do we REALLY know about it? If your dessert-based knowledge is lacking, today’s post is for you! We’re chatting about what gelato is, how it’s different from ice-cream, and how to spot the good quality stuff without hesitation.
What is Gelato?
So, what is gelato, you ask? Most assume that it’s just the Italian term for ice-cream, but there’s much more to it than that. Gelato is made differently to traditional ice-cream: a lot less fat is used in its creation, and it’s churned at a much slower speed to prevent adding in too much air. As a result, the whipped creation has a denser texture and a more intense and obvious flavor. It’s not completely frozen and is typically served at a higher temperature too, meaning that the flavor is all the more prevalent. And now for the almighty question… Which tastes better? That’s purely down to personal preference. Taste test, anyone?
History of Gelato
There are several different tales as to how gelato originated, one being that it came from snow and ice from the mountaintops of Sicily, Rome and Egypt. But the first instance on record of the creation of gelato was by Bernardo Buontalenti in Florence, during the time of the Renaissance. The dessert was created for the Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici in the year 1600. Fun fact: most ice-cream shops in Italy tend to offer a Buontalenti flavor! It apparently resembles the taste of condensed milk, so if that’s your thing, go for it!
The Gelato to Avoid
Okay, if you’ve got a sweet tooth like us, no gelato is bad as such, but some of it isn’t the real deal per se. You might be strolling along the streets in Rome, and you might just happen to wander into a gelateria with a craving for something sweet. If you see crazy flavors and vibrant colors as far as the eye can see, you’re in the wrong place. Gelato that showcases a bright color has essentially been packed with food colouring and unnatural ingredients.
And the gelato that you see towered high in a melt-proof, wave-like shape? Yeah, that’s not the stuff to try either. This usually means that it’s packed full of emulsifiers and vegetable fats. If the gelato that you see is in any way shiny, don’t go for it. This can mean one of two things: that it has too much sugar in it, or that it’s oxidised – meaning that it’s old. Not ideal when you’ve been looking forward to a sweet treat all day! Any of the above will usually be found close to tourist attractions and can be more expensive based on this. You’re better to find the good quality stuff, as it’ll taste better and will be easier on your wallet, too!
How to Spot Good Quality Gelato
We’ve let you in on what you should avoid, but now we’ll detail on what to look for when hunting down good quality gelato!
- Muted, pastel colors
- Silver tins, usually with lids
- Neutral flavors, usually with a fresh fruit base
- A denser texture – not piled high
- The use of all-natural ingredients
- Lacking in ice-cream paraphernalia outside the shop
- Recommendations from the locals!
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