The Difference in Ice Cream vs. Gelato

You see ice cream shops that are selling gelato as well as ice cream, however it kind of leaves you wondering what the difference is between ice cream and gelato?  “Gelato” is the Italian word for ice cream, so you would think that ice cream and gelato are one in the same.  Although they have their differences, which you have probably noticed if you have ever tried gelato.

Palm Springs Ice Cream

There is one large difference between the two, which is that gelato is made with more milk and less cream than American style ice cream.  Gelato has between 4% and 9% butterfat, while ice cream is a minimum of 10% butterfat. That means that gelato is lower in fat, and ice cream is richer and creamier.

The other difference between the two is that ice cream is churned at a much faster speed than gelato, so ice cream has more air, which makes it lighter in texture.  Gelato is churned at a very slow speed, which allows less air into the base, thus making it denser than American style ice cream.

Since gelato is denser and lower in butterfat than ice cream, it must be served at a higher temperature.  Ice cream is usually served at about 5 or 6 degrees above zero, while gelato is best served at between 10 and 12 degrees above zero.  If the temperatures for each were reversed, the ice cream would be melted and the gelato would be hard as a rock!

At Lappert’s Palm Desert we offer a large selection of ice cream, everything from chocolate to our special seasonal holiday flavors, like cookies for Santa and Spumoni.