Italian Ice Cream: Gelato, Sorbetto, Granita and Semifreddi by Carla Bardi
Know The Difference: Gelato vs Ice Cream
What is gelato? Maybe the real question is… if it looks this good, do you care? But what exactly is this Italian answer to ice cream? Where did it come from? And what makes it so different and delicious! Even in the times of ancient Rome, Italians ate confections made of ice or snow.
Put simply, gelato is Italian ice cream, containing the same ingredients as American ice cream, but in different proportions. Gelato has roots that stretch back thousands of years. The earliest frozen desserts on record can be found in Asian cultures where crushed ice mixed with flavorings was a refreshing beverage, to the ancient Egyptian pharaohs offering a cup of ice flavored with fruit juices to their guests. Frozen desserts first came to Italy from a Roman tradition of eating ice gathered from the volcanoes of Etna and Vesuvius that was covered in mellifluous honey. It was during the Italian Renaissance that gelato in its modern form was first created. Not only was Buontalenti talented in the arts, he also had quite a culinary prowess and crafted a creamy frozen dessert for the King that has since been known as gelato.
So what exactly, you may ask, is the difference between gelato and ice cream?