Is Gelato Italian for Ice Cream?

Is Gelato Italian for Ice Cream?

On August 8th, 2012, posted in: Teo Blog by

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New customers are often curious about what exactly makes Gelato different than Ice Cream. Well, there are a few key differences that make these similar frozen treats distinctly different. Let’s break it down.


No, it doesn’t go through an aging process… Gelato was simply invented way before American-style Ice Cream. Gelato made its first appearance in the court of the Medici in 1565 where it was presented by Bernardo Buontalenti, a Florentine cook. The idea for a frozen, milk based dessert traveled with Catherine de’ Medici to France soon after. Then  Ice Cream appeared in England in the late 1600’s and became well known, with written recipes and its first mention in the Oxford English dictionary later in the 1700’s. The Quaker settlers brought ice cream with them when they came to the United States and Dolly Madison served it at the 1813 Inaugural Ball.


Gelato base is made with whole milk while Ice Cream is made mainly with heavy cream.  So, Gelato has a lot less butterfat, specifically 4-6% versus the 14-30% in Ice Cream.  Also, often Ice Cream base contains eggs which can up the fat content at Teo almost all of our flavors start with an eggless base.


Gelato is whipped gently in small batches while Ice Cream is churned longer incorporating more air into the base. After the whipping process Gelato has become 20-35% air while American Ice Cream is usually around 50% air. This allows for a richer flavor to come through in the gelato and explains why even a piccolo cup of Gelato at Teo can satisfy your sweet tooth.


Literally. Ice Cream is served at  10 degrees below freezing while Gelato is served at about 10 degrees above. Turns out this frozen treat is not actually frozen!








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