How to Taste Gelato: A Guide for Enthusiasts

The US industry-leading gelato manufacturer's blog

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After years of preferring ice cream, you made the switch to gelato. The word “gelato” actually means ice cream in Italian – but don’t confuse the two frozen confections. Although gelato and ice cream seem similar on paper, there are several differences between the two, including a difference between the custard base, taste, texture, and serving temperatures.

Here is the ultimate tasting guide for gelato lovers, including how to properly serve and enjoy this unique frozen treat.

serving gelato temperature
Since gelato is thicker, it will become solid as a rock if served at the same temperature as ice cream.

Understanding the Perfect Temperature Gelato Should be Served

Gelatos are ideally served at between 8 to 22 degrees Fahrenheit. This is opposed to ice cream, which is served at a slightly cooler temperature, between 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. This might seem unimportant. However, the varying serving temperature has much to do with each sweet treat’s texture and taste.

Gelato is smoother, bolder, and richer than ice cream. When gelato is served at the same temperature as ice cream, it is more difficult to scoop and impacts the flavor and texture of the treat. This is because gelato is made with milk rather than heavy cream, meaning gelato has a much lower fat content.

Freezing any food with a lower fat content will negatively impact the texture, making the gelato taste less smooth and flavorful. In addition to scooping gelato at this ideal temperature, gelato should also be stored at a slightly higher temperature than ice cream. Don’t worry because it will still be safe to consume even if it is served at 22 degrees Fahrenheit.

As a matter of fact, the warmer the gelato is, the more bold and intense the flavor!

gelato dazzling colors natural ingredients
Gelato owes it’s vibrant colors to the natural ingredients therein!

The Visual Appeal of Gelato: A Feast for the Eyes

Remember back to the first time you walked into a gelateria. Chances are the exceptionally bright colors of gelato bowled you over and made you take notice. The reason gelato is so much brighter and bolder in color than ice cream is simple: the ingredients. Gelato, including the handcrafted gelato lovingly made at I Scream Gelato, is manufactured with natural ingredients.

Conversely, ice cream is often created with artificial ingredients and artificial colors.

For example, consider the look of a traditional scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream. The color is pale green and not very visually exciting. A spatula of mint chocolate chip gelato will be a bold, bright green. Suppose you enjoy a spatula of strawberry gelato, chocolate gelato, or any of the other flavors of this one-of-a-kind frozen dessert. In that case, you will be visually wowed and fall in love with the treat’s complex flavor and very bright colors.

gelato spade
The trowel-like spade is a staple of scooping gelato

The Art of Spooning Gelato: How to Do It Right

Unlike a scoop, gelato is traditionally served with a flat spatula called a spade. Because ice cream has a lower freezing temperature, once again, because of its higher fat content, it requires a scoop. Gelato is smoother and served at a warmer temperature – making a spade the ideal instrument to serve up a cup of hazelnut gelato, pistachio gelato, or any other unique flavors found in your local gelateria.

gelato taste sensation
The taste sensation of gelato is not something that can be properly described in words. Believe us when we say you will be stunned!

Mouth Feel: The Sensory Experience of Tasting Gelato

Authentic gelato is made with a variety of flavors, from everyday favorites to more exotic flavors like mango or key lime. In addition to bold, natural ingredients, gelato is slowly churned, providing the treat with its deep, rich flavor. The slow churning process adds less air to gelato than ice cream, which is why gelato is creamy, smooth, and delicious.

gelato scent
Imagine getting a noseful of strawberry gelato and smelling actual strawberries rather than sweetener!

Aroma and Gelato: The Scent of Sweet Delight

Great gelato will not only be visually stunning, taste unbelievable, and have a smooth, creamy texture – it will also smell amazing. Once again, this is thanks to the amazing natural ingredients gelato makers use to craft this frozen confection. Walk into your local gelato shop, and you will be blown away by the fantastic odors emanating from all the flavors of gelato in the case.

i scream gelato counter
At I Scream Gelato, you can look forward to the complete gelato experience!

The Finish: How to Identify the Best Gelato

From pistachio and banana to hazelnut, chocolate, strawberry lampone, french vanilla, and coffee – there are a seemingly endless number of gelato flavors to sample. However, how do you know the difference between mediocre gelato and a high-quality product? How can you compare a good gelateria to a unique gelato shop?

A proper Italian version of artisanal gelato will be made in small batches by master craftspeople. The ingredients will be all-natural and of the highest quality. At I Scream Gelato, our gelateria’s quality is unparalleled. In addition to exceptional and unique gelato flavors, from classic stracciatella gelato or lemon gelato to more modern or exciting dark chocolate or sour cherry gelato, we offer hot and cold beverages and desserts.

gelato flavors
Which gelato flavor will you try today?

Exploring the World of Gelato Flavors: From Classic to Creative

Gelato is a very versatile dessert that can be customized with almost any flavor imaginable, from modern and downright unusual flavors to a classic fruit flavor or new flavors you’ve probably never even heard of!

lemon gelato
Nothing screams summer than the sweet and sour sensation of lemon gelato

Fruit Flavors in Gelato: A Taste of Summer in Every Scoop

Sure, gelato can be lovingly crafted with chocolate chips, caramel, coffee, or even candy bars. However, if you want a smooth summery treat that will quench any thirst and delight your palate, you cannot be a classic scoop of fruit gelato. Classic Italian ice cream and gelato are flavored with fruit – lemon juice in particular.

You are missing out if you have never tasted the classic bite of bright yellow lemon gelato. It is truly the perfect light summer treat that is sure to please adults and children alike!

chocolate ice cream
Mix and match your favorite chocolate with your best flavored gelato

Indulging in Chocolate Flavors: The Richness of Gelato

Summertime is the perfect season for the fruit flavors of gelato. However, once the summer heat exits and is replaced by the chill of fall, you want a gelato that will put you in an autumnal mood. A rich, textured chocolate gelato is just the thing for this transition into fall and winter.

At I Scream Gelato, we have a wide variety of chocolate flavors that are sure to please, including classic milk chocolate, cocoa boom, white chocolate, mocha, and “cioccolato fondente” – the Italian word for “dark chocolate.” We even handcraft gelato featuring your favorite classic chocolate treats like Oreos and Reese’s!

fior di latte gelato
Fior di Latte is the purest way to enjoy classic Italian gelato.

Fior di Latte Gelato: The Purest Taste of Italy

Fior di Latte, or “Flower of Milk” in Italian, is used in the process of making several dairy-based products, including the highest-quality cheese. Regarding gelato, Fior Di Latte refers to the straightforward, classic base for gelato: premium whole milk or milk, sugar, and a third ingredient, such as a small amount of heavy cream or egg yolks.

Fior di Latte gelato can be flavored or can be eaten as-is. When you combine milk, sugar, and pure cream or eggs, you can genuinely taste the quality of the ingredients, and it is the purest way to enjoy classic Italian gelato. If plain gelato is your favorite, add just fruit for a little added depth of flavor.

good gelato
So what goes into making a good gelato?

What Makes a Good Gelato: The Key Factors of Your Taste Buds

Unfortunately, most gelato you buy at your local grocery store isn’t made of the highest-quality ingredients, which will significantly impact the overall taste and texture. Additionally, store-bought gelato is often stored at the same temperature as ice cream, which you have learned also affects the texture of gelato.

This is why if you want to enjoy a great gelato, you must visit a gelateria that correctly stores and serves Italian gelato. At I Scream Gelato, we take gelato making very seriously and only use the best quality ingredients, from chocolate and coffee to milk and fruit.

strawberryThe Importance of Fresh Ingredients

Whether you are making a chocolate cake, a pizza, or even Thanksgiving dinner, you understand that a meal is only as good as its ingredients. Gelato is no different, so if you are going to try your hand at making gelato ice cream or want to try a spatula of strawberry, chocolate, or dulce de leche, always choose a gelateria that uses the finest, freshest ingredients.

Real gelato achieves its rich taste and texture because it is slow-churned. This leisurely churning not only introduces less air into the product, which is the main reason why gelato is so dense and thick, but it also means that the ingredients are slowly incorporated into the base. It will be very noticeable if the finest ingredients are not used while making gelato.

coffeeThe Art of Mixed Flavors: Creating a Symphony in Gelato

Gelato is constantly changing and evolving. The earliest forms of gelato, which was invented way back in the 16th century, were either enjoyed plain or flavored with lemon or other popular fruits. Todays’s gelato is bold and unique, and gelato enthusiasts across the globe, including our talented chefs, combine flavors to create out-of-this-world combinations.

In addition to combining flavors to make gelato, you can also pair a classic gelato with a cup of coffee or a glass of Sicilian marsala wine to create the perfect end to a meal.

waffle coneMany Choices: Not Just Another Ice Cream Shop

If you live in Breckinridge, CO, Miami, FL, Denver, CO, or Columbus, OH, and search “What is the best gelato near me?” one of the top choices will be I Scream Gelato. I Scream Gelato isn’t your typical neighborhood ice cream shop. Our artisans handcraft several varieties of gelato, in addition to hot and iced coffees and mouth-watering desserts, like our famous bubble waffles.

faq gelato
Answering some of your gelato related questions? If you have any more, let us know!

Frequently Asked Questions

Want to learn even more about gelato – including how this sweet frozen treat tastes and what makes it stand out from ice cream? Here are the answers to some additional questions you might have about gelato:

tasteHow is gelato supposed to taste?

If this is your first experience tasting gelato, one of the first things you will notice is that gelato has a much bolder and deeper taste than ice cream. This is not only because of the ingredients used to make good gelato but also because gelato is slowly whipped and stored at a warmer temperature. If you want to really enjoy gelato, you should allow it to melt slightly!

ice creamCan you taste the difference between gelato and ice cream?

Sample a bite of Italian gelato and a bite of ice cream, and the difference between the taste, texture, and richness of both will be very apparent. This comes down to the ingredients and how gelato and ice cream are crafted. Ice cream is typically churned at a much faster rate than traditional Italian gelato, which is where ice cream gets its classic, airy texture.

The slow churning process used to manufacture chocolate, coffee, or other flavors of gelato creates a denser finished product. Gelato also has a lower fat content than ice cream, which is once again why gelato is served at a higher temp than ice cream.

The smooth texture and depth of flavor you have always wanted in ice cream can be found when you make the switch to gelato!

italyHow do Italians eat gelato?

To truly experience the majesty of gelato, you must eat this frozen treat like the Italians intended! Visit any gelateria in Italy, including the famous Il Massimo in Rome or the Gelateria del Teatro in Campo dei Fiori, and you will order a scoop or two of gelato in a cup or a cone. Although other options are available, classic gelato shops typically serve their products in cones or cups.

Gelato Italiano is often combined with a shot of espresso to create an affogato. If you genuinely want to step out of your comfort zone, drizzle some olive oil or balsamic vinegar over your gelato to sample a uniquely Italian combination!

Italians also typically enjoy their gelato served at a warmer temperature, as, once again, this enhances the flavor of the treat. Although gelato is most often enjoyed in the late afternoon or as a way to cleanse the palate after dinner, you can order gelato at almost any time of the day!

how gelato is madeHow is gelato different from ice cream?

Although many people confuse gelato and ice cream or even assume these treats are interchangeable, it is essential to note that there are several obvious differences between the two. Once again, gelato is served at a warmer temperature than ice cream – but the distinctions don’t end there.

Consider the difference between a serving of strawberry gelato and strawberry ice cream. The strawberry gelato will have a base featuring milk and sugar. Ice cream is traditionally made with heavy cream and sugar. The simple difference actually has a significant impact on the fat and caloric content of ice cream vs. gelato.

Gelato has fewer calories and fat than ice cream, meaning that, quite simply, gelato is healthier for you than ice cream! Strawberry sorbet is also a lot different than strawberry gelato. Sorbet is dairy free and is instead made with only water, fruit juices, and whole fruit.

A one-half-cup serving of gelato will typically have 160 calories, while a comparable serving of ice cream will have 210 calories. According to the FDA, or the United States Food and Drug Administration, for a store-bought product to be labeled “ice cream,” it must have at least 10% of its calories from fat – although many store-bought ice creams have as much as 25% of its calories derived from fat.

This is compared to gelato, which has a much lower fat content of 4%-9%. Although the average serving of gelato has less fat than ice cream, gelato typically has more sugar.

If you dream of crafting homemade gelato, purchasing an ice cream machine is the simplest method. However, in addition to replacing heavy cream with milk, you will also need to turn the speed on the ice cream machine to its lowest setting.

Ice cream is whipped very quickly, so it is lighter and airier than gelato. Gelato is dense, which means that in addition to having fewer calories, you will feel much fuller when you dine on gelato! Whether you choose ice cream or gelato, don’t forget to add some of your all-time favorite toppings and a dollop of whipped cream!

i scream gelato
Come visit us in Breckenridge CO or Miami FL and let our range of gelato wow you!

I Scream Gelato: Your Mouth Would Love Visiting Rome

Gelato is truly a unique treat that should be on your dessert bucket list! However, before you assume you need to hop on a plane and travel to Italy to get a great scoop of gelato, think again. Instead, stop in at your new favorite local gelateria – I Scream Gelato! Stop in at our Breckenridge, CO, location to enjoy a scoop of Fior de Latte Caramel, or visit our Miami, FL, location for a dolce gelato or “sweet gelato” experience!

At I Scream Gelato, we take the art of gelato making seriously. Our team only uses the finest ingredients to handcraft our gelato in small batches. This means that every time you stop into one of our conveniently-located gelaterias, you are guaranteed a memorable experience.

In addition to indulging in a scoop of gelato or sipping on a macchiato in one of our beautiful shops, you can also order I Scream Gelato to go! We also offer delivery and are offer catering services. Whether you are hosting a baby shower, anniversary, birthday party, or corporate event, we provide everything you need to create a memorable event, including bowls, spoons, cones, and napkins!

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