Iorio's Gelato Blog

ice cream

Here's the Scoop: ice cream vs. gelato

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When customers walk in, one of the most common questions they have for our gelatistas is, "What is the difference between gelato and ice cream?"  It is commonly thought that gelato is just the Italian word for ice cream, but Iorio's is here to help set the record straight.

Upon your first sample of our gelato, one of the first differences you may notice is that the gelato is much creamier and denser than typical ice cream.  To further investigate, we've compiled a list of the main factors to consider when differentiating: ingredients, processing steps, and manner by which it is served.

Ingredients: Milk vs. Cream

A key difference between gelato and ice cream is that gelato uses milk as its key dairy ingredient whereas ice cream uses cream.  This may not seem like a drastic difference, but it results in a much different taste and texture.  The use of milk results in a much lower fat content than ice cream, which makes it a lighter treat.

Processing: Slow Churning

What makes gelato so much denser than ice cream, you might ask?  It’s all in the air, or rather, the lack of it!  When gelato is churned, it is done much more slowly than ice cream, resulting in less air in the mixture, leading to a dense and satisfying texture.  It also means that when you order your piccolo, medio, or even splurge on a pint at one of our stores, you are getting more for what you pay for than if you were to order the same size container of ice cream.

How it’s Served: Scapes, Not Scoops

If you’ve ever entered our store, you will notice that we do not have the typical ice cream scoop you may see at other ice cream parlors.  Rather, Iorio’s serves its gelato with the more traditional scape or spade.  These tools are similar to spatulas, with a flat, metal surface with is used to slide the gelato into the container.

Additionally, gelato is served at a warmer temperature than ice cream.  This allows it to have a much softer consistency without melting quickly as ice cream would at the same temperature.  Due to this warmer temperature, there is no numbing sensation on the tongue, and you are able to experience a sharper and more distinct taste.

Of course, we won’t outright say that gelato is superior to any ice cream, so you'll have to come decide for yourself.