You may know it as simply ‘Italian Ice Cream’ but Gelato is far more than just a regional variation on the globally adored frozen dessert, in many ways it is far superior to its more well-known cousin. Gelato is lower in fat and although it may not be as healthy as sugar companies may have led us to believe, a low-fat option can often be good for you. Typically made with less butterfat than ice cream, (usually two thirds less) this stuff can be consumed without the after effect of your body feeling clogged up. But this isn’t the only reason people opt for the classic Italian iced wonder.
Another great thing about quality Gelato is that it uses only natural ingredients (or it should, beware of the imitations out there). Typically, a banana gelato will be loaded with real banana, same goes for the berry flavours and even the desserts flavours like cheesecake, will contain chunks of that cheesecake. May people falsely credit big name ice cream companies like Ben and Jerry’s for loading these frozen delicacies with actual pieces of cookies, brownies and so on, but gelato makers have been doing it for centuries. This again makes gelato a healthier option because you are being kept away from all those nasty artificial flavours and colours that along with making people hyperactive and giving them headaches are just generally not good. On top of this having real fruit in the mix means that your body is much more capable of dealing with the sugars you are about to force into it, meaning you are far less likely to sugar crash if you are enjoying a fruit gelato than a fake fruit flavored ice cream.
Finally, a lot of the appeal of gelato is thanks to its much more rich and dense creamy texture. This comes from the thorough mixing process that occurs while its being made, which removes much of the air from the product resulting in a more compact end result. Air in ice cream is a great barometer for quality, the cheap nasty value stuff is full of it, you can literally see the air pockets when you pull back the plastic lids, the more expensive stuff is always more solid and generally harder to scoop. Similarly, gelato is thicker, its air free velvety surface replacing all that air with more ingredients and therefore giving a much more intense flavour.
With wonderful myths surrounding its origin, it is said that early forms of this treat were created back in ancient Egypt, where hordes of people would go up to the mountains, there they would add sweetness and flavour, then compact the snow into icy balls and bring them back down, storing their spoils underground where it was cool. Though because of ice cream having a similar history, the two have often been confused even until today. Florence however is the recorded historical birthplace of Gelato and is still home to some visit worthy shops today.