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Discover Why Everyone Falls in Love with GelatoLearn the differences between ice cream and gelato and get scoop (pun intended) on the delicious wonders behind those glass cases at the gelaterias in Italy
The struggle is real, people. But I don't want to resolve this problem. I just want to better understand the source of my addiction. What is this gelato we speak of? See, Italians always make a big deal about words and what they really mean. Some might say they nit pick. However, they would say they are precise.
Gelato and Ice Cream – Two Distinct LovesYes, gelato is the word for ice cream in Italian. But you'll quickly learn that the two terms are not completely synonymous. A taste tester will tell you that ice cream is heavier than gelato. That's not necessarily bad; it's just fact. The reason is that ice cream recipes feature more cream, and thus more fat, than gelato recipes.
I've read that ice cream is churned at a faster rate because it requires more air for the cream. I'm not sure about that. I've made both in my ice cream maker, and I always churn at the same speed and still end up with different results. Gelato seems more like soft-serve in its consistency. Italians who have tried soft-serve in the United States have agreed with me.
Lots of people will talk to you about eggs. Gelato might include eggs (or yolks anyway), too. But there aren't nearly as many in a standard gelato recipe as there are in ice cream. Often, there are none at all. Also, some foodies have suggested there is more sugar in gelato. I think that depends on the recipe. Still, both recipes always start as some sort of custard.
Having It Both WaysDon't get me wrong. I love ice cream, too. Its richness and the variety of flavors beckon me home. You could say I'm in a committed relationship with ice cream, and gelato is my Latin lover. You don't mind the love handles and the harder edges of your spouse. You're so comfortable and in love and secure.
But in a lover you want something a little more supple and refined. You're looking for a short burst of excitement, so it better be a sleeker model. (By the way, I'm not suggesting you go out and have an affair with an Italian or anyone else; I'm talking about food here, folks. Love the one you're with is my motto.)
Eye CandyFrom the moment you step in front of the gelato display, you can't resist. The colors are so pretty, so pretty. Ribbons of chocolate are splashed across a white blanket for stracciatella. The bin of Nutella gelato looks like brown velvet. Hazelnuts topping the nocciola gelato look like dazzling Christmas ornaments. Kinder cereali with its chunks of chocolate bar in it seems like something out of Candy Land. Beignet colata flaunts its sweetness with tiny beignets mixed in the creaminess. Tiny beignets!
Then, there are the beauties of the case resplendent in all their fruitiness. A pastel rainbow – that hot pink anguria (watermelon), creamy orange of melone, buttery banana, and peachy pesca (peach) – is almost regal. Some of the more exotic flavors catch the eye, less because of their color and more because of their accouterments. The coconut shell adorning the coconut flavor, for instance, is fantastical. The mint color of mela verde (green apple) and slightly darker pistachio are like jewels.
You'll ask the parlor staff how many scoops can be stacked atop the largest cone. And you'll be dejected by their response of two or three. No bother. Today, you'll have a simple fior di latte (flower of the milk) and nocciola pairing. Tomorrow, you'll be back for some more of that good lovin'.
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