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What's the deal with Gelato anyway?

Why is it the best thing since sliced bread...err, ice cream?

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  1. Texture, in part. Gelato has less butterfat but also less air, so it's at once lighter and creamier.

    Context, in part. Eat some from a fresh batch in Italy and change your life.

    On that note, for me, flavor, in part: you don't find the likes of fiordilatte or licorice in your local dairy case. The standard range of flavors in Italy is different from the standard range here.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tatamagouche

      For me, the life-changing flavour is yogurt - light, tangy and somehow completely different from actual frozen yogurt.

    2. I love the texture. But as it's also generally less fat than their ice cream counterparts, I find that I can taste it more. High fat item like cream tend to coat my tongue, obscuring the flavors. And because the texture is softer than the ice cream, the flavor explosion happens at a faster rate. This is why I'm not as crazy about Il Labatorio del Gelato (in NYC) as much as the other posters on this board. I find they serve their gelato much colder and harder than the pastes of other places like Grom, and I don't get the same hit of flavor.

      That's not to say that I don't love ice cream. But my preference is for gelato.

      1. It's usually more fresh since gelato isn't something that can sit around for awhile. It's thinner and meltier and made in all sorts of interesting flavors! Yum gelato!

        1. Truthfully, I don't know or care, but there is a bakery by me that makes the most amazing cannoli flavored gelato. I go out of my way to avoid the place so I don't go off my diet.

          There is a place in the Greenwich Village called Yolato, frozen yogurt made like gelato. It's not half bad either, I tried the pistachio and really enjoyed it.

          1. Gelato is made with milk not cream, it has a creamy texture because they don't pump it up with air. Gelato has a fresh clean taste.

            1. Try a few flavors and see how it hits you. I love the flavor varieties and the fact that it is probably homeade when you get it. (One secret way of spotting homeade gelato is to check the banana flavor. If the color is bright yellow, it is probably artificial flavors and might not be homeade, brownish in color, homeade and naturally flavored gelato.)

              I don't know why it makes me so excited but it does. I think it might be its absolute simplicity and complexness at the same time. The flavors are clean and fresh, while keeping a smooth creamyness that doesn't overwhelm me when I eat it.

              I also love the different flavors. Right now, I think my favorite is hazelnut, followed by chocolate, tiramasu, rassberry and mint. The flavors have a strong presence, but aren't overwhelmed by add ins or overly sweetened like some ice cream.

              1 Reply
              1. re: adventuresinbaking

                I have 3, count 'em, 3 gelato places within walking distance of my job. I had never tried gelato and finally asked at one of the places for a sample. Now, I am a huge supporter of the dairy industry and have a strong interest in sheep dairying. I love cheese. I love all dairy products I think! But this gelato....meh. After being told by several co-workers that it was like heaven, my question to the woman at the restaurant was "is this even made with a dairy product?" I was very disappointed. So Amy RC, don't feel too bad if you aren't a gelato lover. I didn't either and I was entirely prepared to love it plus, as people say, it's less calories. Instead, I will continue to eat the highest butterfat/caloric ice cream I can find and big butt be damned!

              2. second gelato experience today. Um, is it always so gooey?

                1 Reply
                1. re: amy_rc

                  No, it shouldn't be "gooey". Texturally it should be somewhere between hard frozen and soft serve ice cream - soft, creamy, but not "gooey". Sounds like the vendor may have had some freezer issues. Gelato doesn't do well if thaws a little and then goes back into the freezer, which is one reason that most gelateries tend to make smaller batches.

                2. Also the custardy texture makes it easier to manage (i.e. it doesn't melt in the same fashion as ice cream). This doesn't suddenly mean that ice cream sucks btw. It's just nice to have options.


                  1. As tatamaqouche said, in context it makes a difference! Eating fresh gelato in Italy is something to experience. I have yet to find superb gelato like it in Canada. The actual vanilla bean or lemon or hazelnuts are used in gelato, unlike flavoured ice creams where the actual ingredient is not used. The flavours are outstanding.

                    My favourites are pistachio, limone, lime and grapefruit.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chefathome

                      Driving with my mom and sister around the many and various little hill towns in Puglia, back in '80, our regular ritual was to find a nice-looking local bar and buy a gelato cone. It was invariably smooth, rich, and with clear, brilliant flavors...and it was also invariably made on the premises from a commercial mix! My sister's kids had turned me on to their favorite, a scoop each of chocolate and lemon; the sharp, bright lemon tang and the intensely deep chocolate did wonderful things in my mouth. I have yet to find any gelati with this kind of intensity over here, though of course my tasting apparatus is 28 years older...