Gelato or ice cream is one of the best-loved Italian exports in the world. The product has rich and long history. There are few versions about the origin of gelato. One of them says that Marco Polo brought ice cream back to Italy from his adventures in China and the other version says that ice cream was invented in Italy. It is not known exactly where this delicious product came from but Italy is considered the homeland of this dessert by almost everyone. This is due to the fact that Italian gelato is amazing and also because the country and its people did a lot to popularize the product throughout the world.
Introduction of dairy
It would take a few centuries before milk or cream started to be added to these ice desserts, thus creating what we now know as gelato and ice cream. Just as with pizza, it is the Neapolitans to be credited with creating the first true ice creams, which appeared in an 18th century cookbook. Once dairy had been introduced, each nationality put their own stamp on ice cream, with Italy creating the flavor explosion known as gelato.
Italians continue to be among the highest consumers of ice cream and this consumption is usually spread throughout the year with peaks during hot summer months. While many industrial products of high quality are available, Italians tend to identify artisans who produce special products and prefer artisan gelato to its cheaper industrially produced counterpart.
Differences between gelato and ice cream
There are tiny difference between Italian gelato and ice cream, particularly in flavor and texture. Gelato is made with milk, sometimes skim-milk as opposed to cream which gives gelato a much lower milk fat content. Less milk fat allows the flavors of gelato to really stand out compared to the more blended flavors of ice cream. Gelato’s flavor is helped by the fact that it has less air whipped into it than ice cream, making it much denser.
While Italy, probably cannot take credit for truly inventing ice cream, but it has arguably done more for the evolution of ice desserts than any other country.