The Ultimate Battle: Ice Cream Vs. Gelato

I would open this post with a “I scream, you scream” joke, but that’d be far too predictable. So let’s just cut to the chase: we all love ice cream. Or at least some version of it, whether it be frozen yogurt, or whatever other versions there are (I don’t know that many). But I do know this, when it comes down to a conversation about ice cream, many agree that winner is the one and only gelato.

Let’s start by discussing gelato. Gelato is Italy’s answer to ice cream. It is made with the same process as American ice cream, and is considered to be a softer form of ice cream in the U.S. They are made with similar ingredients as well, but there is one ingredient that gelato does not have compared to American ice cream: air. You read that right.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Air? Really? Yes, really. When you get ice cream, potentially half the package is air. The air does serve a purpose; it makes the ice cream lighter, which is good for that whole process of getting the ice cream out of the box with a scoop. But there is a drawback: the ice cream also melts faster. Gelato is made with no air, so it can be kept at a slightly higher temperature than ice cream. This also means the temperature for serving must be a bit higher so it is easier to scoop, but even at the slightly higher temperature, it doesn’t melt as quickly.

There are other differences as well. While both have similar ingredients, gelato is typically made with more egg yolk, more milk, and less cream than ice cream. Because of this, gelato tends to be more dense, but it also creamier, richer, and (this part is important) less fattening. That’s right. Gelato has less fat than ice cream.

Now as far which one wins…well, food, like many other things, is a highly subjective thing. I once knew someone who liked ketchup on scrambled eggs. But I can say this: I had a gelato when I visited Little Italy in New York three years ago. I remember it being incredibly good, and I walked down the street with it and it barely melted, and this was on a hot summer day. An old college buddy of mine visited Italy one summer and had gelato over there. To this day, he REFUSES to eat ice cream. It’s that good.

Regardless of your feeling of ice cream or gelato, there’s plenty of both to go around. And if you decide you’d like to compare the two, make sure you bring some samples down for us to try. I prefer chocolate.

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