Gelato is one of Italy’s biggest and best exports as one of the famous desserts all around the world. We all know that Gelato comes from Italy, but not many of us know about the recipe, kinds and making process of this highlight of Italian cuisine.
The initial idea of ice cream was brought from China by the great adventurer Marco Polo. However, this fact is a matter of disputes. Only because many other empires would have had access to shaved ice and fruits and could have easily been eating some form of ice cream well before Marco Polo returned from his travels.
Early Ice Creams
When talking about the early forms of ice cream, the historical pieces of evidence point out to China. There are many references that the chefs in China were developed a method to add some salt to keep the texture and form of the iced dessert. At this stage, it would have been wrong to call these desserts ice cream because there was no milk or cream involved in the recipes. These desserts were more like sorbets. In fact, it is documented that the emperors of the Roman Empire liked to eat these sorbets before Marco Polo brought them to Europe from China. Perhaps, the emperors wanted to keep this delicious secret just for themselves instead introduced the idea of ice cream to the rest of Europe.
Centuries passed away when someone had an idea to add dairy to these recipes, and that was the new era of ice cream. Naples is credited for the invention of this world-famous Italian dessert. There are few Italian recipe books from the 18th century that feature gelato. Gelato is the Italian version of ice cream, it has a smooth, almost velvety texture, but packs incredible flavors of fruit, berries, nuts, cakes, and chocolate.
Ice Cream v Gelato
There is no big difference between gelato and ice cream. However, there some key nuances in technology that make gelato so sinfully delicious and smooth. Gelato does not contain any cream. It is made from milk or semi-skimmed milk and this allows the fruit flavors to shine through. Another great difference is that gelato is not as much whipped as ice cream and there is less air incorporated in the mixture. As a result, gelato is a denser and more intense dessert.
Granita, Sorbetto, and Italian Ice
These three highly popular desserts are very related to ice cream. It is claimed that sorbet was invented by Arabs as they had a drink called Sharbat that was a combination of fruit juice and mountain snow. It is supposed to be that the drink Sharbat was brought to Italy because of Arabs and Italians war5 and trade relations. The granita was originally developed in Sicily. It was a combination of ice, different flavorings and some sugar for extra sweetness. Sorbetto or as it is called in the USA, Italian Ice, contains nothing but juices, ice, and syrup.