There are few things in life that can bring people together like a good dish of gelato. Though we might disagree when it comes to politics, which hotels have the best concierge service, or whether Lisbon is a ‘must see’ destination, I am pretty sure most everyone on this travel forum shares a common passion for gelato. From melon to licorice, pistachio to toasted black sesame, there are so many wonderful and gastronomically stimulating flavor combinations that the sheer variety alone would make even Baskin Robbins blush. Let’s be honest; 31 flavors is for amateurs.
From a simple after dinner treat to a memorable, gastronomically unique experience, gelato isn’t so much crossing over culinary boundaries, as bulldozing right through them.
I have often asked myself why gelato is so different from the regular ice cream we have grown to love. Why is it that once you’ve had a scoop of real gelato, ice cream just doesn't cut it?
After looking in to the matter, here is a list of the differences I have found between ice cream and gelato:
Let’s face it, for some reason gelato just tastes better in Italy and France, than anywhere else in the world. I strongly believe that the hundreds of years of experience, and the generations upon generations who have perfected their family recipes have allot to do with why gelato just tastes better in Europe.
It was surprising to discover that they have been churning out this frozen treat since 1565 in its original form, and this, along with the Mediterranean climate which provides some of the best fruit in the world, are huge factors that weigh in on the final flavor profile.
Fat content and its effects on flavor is another reason gelato is handily winning the race when it comes to preferred frozen treats.
Gelato has a greater proportion of whole milk to cream, bringing total fat content to 6-7%, while ice cream regularly carries a minimum of 10% fat. Since there isn’t as much fat content in gelato, it doesn’t coat the mouth in the same way ice cream does. Less coating means more flavor receptors, and more flavor receptors means a more intense flavor.
Gelato is also churned at a slower speed than ice cream, so it's denser because not as much air is whipped into the mixture. Gelato contains about 25 to 30 percent air, while ice cream can contain as much as 50 percent air.
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.
Although I will freely admit I am a gelato snob, there comes a time when talking about it just won’t do anymore. With that in mind, my question is this:
Where did you have the best gelato during your travels?
The following is my list:
Giolitti - Rome, Italy - since 1900 - GIOLITTI - Via Uffici del Vicario, 40
Grom - Italy - multiple locations - www.grom.it
Gelateria di Piazza - San Gimignano - GELATERIA DI PIAZZA San Gimignano | Un gelato da campioni del mondo - Piazza della Cisterna, 4
Angelato - Prague, Czech Republic - Angelato – More Than Ice Cream - Rytířská 27
Dolcezza - Washinton D.C. - multiple locations - dolcezza | artisanal gelato
Papalani Gelato - Kauai - Best Italian Gelato Chocolates Shop Kauai Hawaii | Papalani Gelato - Poipu Shopping Village