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Ice cream or Gelato - What's your preference and why?

Gelato seems like all the rage, but my experience with it is limited.

I'm curious to know what others think.

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  1. I've had a fair amount of exposure to Gelato both here and in Italy, and I have to say that I prefer Ice Cream. Gelato tends to have more sugar and I like the creaminess of Ice Cream personally.

    That being said, Gelato certainly doesn't suck and I will take it over, um, nearly anything that isn't Gelato.

    I guess it's sort of like asking which of your kids you like better.

    1. I'll take both, together. Thank you.

      1. I much prefer gelato to ice cream. I find American ice cream is too rich. And I tend to prefer the kinds of flavors that dominate gelato (fruits, especially; more refreshing).

        Then again, I am someone who usually prefers sherbet to ice cream.

        1. I like gelato cus it uses milk instead of cream. It also has a creamy texture cus it does not have air added like ice cream does.

          1. I prefer Gelato because it is smoother and has a more intense flavor.

            1. Philly Ice Cream>Italian Gelato>"Ice Cream" (really a custard)>"gelato"

              1. Gelato because I only eat it when I'm in Italy. So if I'm eating it, I must be in Italy.

                3 Replies
                  1. re: treb

                    Don't get me wrong, I'm not a frequent traveler to Italy. I've just decided that it's not worth the calories and $$ to eat it here.

                    1. re: viperlush

                      I can understand what you mean. We go to Italy twice a year and now having had the best gelato on the planet others just do not compare (well, except for Croatia). The memory of the perfect gelato is just so vivid that I do not want to set myself up for disappointment so I no longer do. The atmosphere in Italy surely doesn't hurt, either! :-) I tend to associate Italy with gelato and that is just how it is. Same with other food associations in other parts of the world. To me it is part of the experience.

                1. Gelato - just like the texture and flavor better

                  1. Gelato - no contest. Have had gelato many, many times all over the Mediterranean and love that the flavours are so much more pronounced than ice cream. Grapefruit tastes like grapefruit. Pistachio tastes like pistachio. Rosted pear tastes like roasted pear. The texture is just so smooth.

                    1. I prefer ice cream. What I like about cold ice cream is that it is chewy. There is some substance there. If you let it warm up quite a bit, what have you got?--Gelato! Gelato reminds me of slightly colder than average pudding (as in Jello or Royal Chocolate pudding, for example).

                      The foregoing having been said, I had it in Rudesheim, Germany and it had an intensely fruit flavored "flavor" which really impressed me. But that was just one time out of many when the intensity of the flavor was just average.

                      In conclusion, my problem with gelato generally is that it just seems like a slightly colder than average fluffy pudding. Give me ice cream.

                      1. Definintely prefer ice-cream. I've never had gelato in Italy, but I tried it a number of times in Little Italy here in Montreal and was always disappointed - I think I expected it to taste like ice-cream and was expecting that creaminess and mouthfeel. It tasted thin (vs ice-cream's 'thick') and most of all, too sweet, no matter what the flavour, to me.

                        Granted I probably need to have more of it to really say but so far, I don't much like gelato at all, which is a little surprising given that I like my desserts.

                        1. I prefer gelato precisely because I prefer the cleaner, less fatty mouth-feel. It's actually why I feel in love with Breyer's natural vanilla way back in the day and why I don't like French vanilla ice cream at all.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: PegS

                            ... ya ought to try some philly style ice cream, if you don't like the eggy french vanilla.

                            1. re: Chowrin

                              Is it like frozen custard, which (this California girl) discovered a few years ago on a trip to New Jersey? I was in heeeeeavvvven.

                              1. re: PegS

                                nope. opposite. philly style is sans egg.

                          2. Nothing beats a great gelato, but that is very diificult to find. So I am more likely to be pleased with ice cream.

                            Thank goodness you didn't ask about frozen custard.

                            1. I consider them two different things for many of the reasons discussed by others in this thread. I like them both and will be happy with a good version of either one.

                              1. I will happily take either, as long as the quality is good and is in the flavours I enjoy.

                                That said, over where I am now, I prefer to get gelato over ice-cream when at the grocer's, simply because they have a local brand of gelato that is far superior to all the ice-cream brands I can find there.

                                And adding to that, exactly because gelato is all the rage now, it is so much easier to find a place that makes decent gelato, than a place that makes decent ice-cream.

                                1. No preference, I like them both equally. A well-made hazelnut gelato is my favorite frozen treat ever, but sometimes I really want a hard-packed ice cream in a sugar cone to munch on.

                                  1. Surely gelato is just the name Italians give to ice cream, in the same way that the Spanish call it helado?

                                    I don't understand the question about how there is a difference.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Harters

                                      Sure, gelato could be described as Italian style ice cream, but there are differences. Gelato is typically lower in butterfat content, and thus has more water content. Gelato's also usually denser, with less overrun, or air whipped into it, because it's batch frozen, more quickly.

                                      1. re: Harters

                                        Lebovitz -- the current darling of the ice-cream-writer set -- says Gelato is less sweet than American ice cream and rarely uses eggs, but I think he has it backwards. Most Gelato recipes I've seen lately (and this is backed up by what I think is a more scholarly and authoritative resource, Gail Damerow's "Ice Cream: The Whole Scoop") use little or no cream, more eggs than even a French Style Ice Cream and much, much more sugar to attain their "creaminess."

                                        Also, Gelato is stored and served at a warmer temperature so it is softer -- almost soft-serve-like, although still softly scoopable -- and thus may taste more intense.

                                        1. re: acgold7

                                          Thanks - I hadnt appreciated that that there was a product, presumably sold in America, called gelato that was different to ice cream.

                                          Where I am we just have ice cream (although, of course, different producers have different styles of making it)

                                      2. I like them both. However, there are flavors of gelato that I'm particular fond of, that are less common in ice cream shops, or even ice cream recipes. Gianduia (hazelnut and chocolate,) pistachio, straciatella (which Graeter's used to make here in the US, in various ice cream flavors, back before they mechanized their process.) Unlike some other posters, I find ice cream sweeter than gelato, but maybe I'm wrong? I haven't eaten a lot of gelato lately, living in Kansas and not having been to the coasts since 2009. sigh