Granted, not all gelaterie are the same. The variety depends on production methods and ingredients used. I should also mention, in fact, that there is a great distinction between artisan and industrial gelato (ice cream). Both are apparently similar in appearance. However they reveal substantial differences. The differences relate to the production methods and ingredients used. The differences also relate to the temperature of production and the conservation of the product.
Gelato is only homemade with fresh ingredients from the Italian tradition. The base is milk, sugar and eggs. To obtain other flavors chocolate, milk-cream and fruits etc are added.
It is possible to produce fruit gelato, a sort of "sorbet", without milk and sugar. This gelato has fewer calories, but it is also less creamy and less tasty. It uses fructose instead sugar, which has the same calories, but a lower glycemic index . It is creamy and it melts very fast depending on the outside temperature.
Instead industrial ice cream contains milk powder, vegetable oils and additives such as colorants, emulsifiers, stabilizers and flavorings. It is generally 'more' soft and bulky, 'because it contains more air, although this can also depend on the brand.
Legally ice cream has a minimum of ten percent fat, while gelato is made with a greater proportion of whole milk to cream, so it contains more like five to seven percent fat. Gelato is churned at a slower speed than ice cream, so it is denser because not as much air is whipped into the mixture. Finally, while ice cream is typically served frozen, gelato is typically stored and served at a slightly warmer temperature, so it's not quite completely frozen. Since there is not as much fat in gelato, it doesn't coat the mouth in the same way. So the flavors are more intense.
In the middle ages the Arabs arrived in Sicily and discovered a way to sweeten and taste the snow of Mt Etna.
Florence has a long gelato tradition as well. A frozen dessert appeared during banquets at the Medici court in Florence. Bernardo Buontalenti, a creative artist and cook is said to have invented modern icecream in 1565. He presented his recipe and his innovative refrigerating techniques to Caterina De Medici.
My favourite gelaterie? May I say it ?...They are all Sicilian! There are only a few exceptions: Gelateria de Medici in Florence and Gelateria di Piazza in San Gimignano. Here you have to try the cream flavor, Crema di Santa Fina, a vanilla cream with saffron !
- Posted by Angelica