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The Differences of Frozen Desserts / Cuisine

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As long as the flavor’s right, there’s not a frozen dessert I’ll turn down, especially on a hot day. One of my friends, on the other hand, claims to loathe ice cream (how does that even happen?), yet claims to live for gelato. Perhaps my palate is unsophisticated, but I can’t detect enough of a difference between the two, beyond texture, to understand her divisive attitude. But, in fact, there are quite a few differences between ice cream and gelato, and even more within the entire frozen-dessert field. For instance, do you know what distinguishes frozen custard from gelato? Or why Italian ice isn’t synonymous with shaved ice? We don’t often think about these issues, but they’re worth considering, especially when we’re trying to figure out why certain friends are so picky about one frozen treat versus another.

Ice Cream vs. Gelato

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates ice cream. That means any product labeled “ice cream” must contain a certain amount of milk fat—at least 10 percent, or around 7 grams per half cup—and can’t be more than 1.4 percent egg-yolk solids. Most premium ice creams have a milk-fat content somewhere between 14 and 17 percent. Ice cream is pumped full of air during the whipping process, which significantly increases its volume, sometimes by over half. The FDA has to make sure companies aren’t selling ice cream that’s mostly air, so ice cream must weigh at least 2 kg per 3,78 liters to meet FDA standards. Whereas ice cream is made with milk and cream, most gelatos have almost no cream.

But they
still taste rich and creamy because they have a very small amount of added air (compared to the amount in ice cream); this makes the flavors stand out. According to Bon Appétit, gelato is 3 to 10 percent milk fat, which is less than the amount in ice cream. Gelato’s texture is somewhere between ice cream and soft-serve, thanks to its semifrozen state; however, that state prevents it from maintaining good quality when kept in storage for too long.


This treat is frozen at a higher temperature than ice cream, which gives soft-serve a soft consistency. And like gelato, it often doesn’t have as much fat as ice cream has. As a result, soft-serve and gelato don’t have the same numbing effect on taste buds that ice cream can have. Taste buds have an easier time detecting soft-serve’s decadence.

Frozen Custard

The main difference between ice cream and custard is the amount of egg yolk in each dish. The FDA dictates that a frozen dessert composed of 1.4 percent or more egg yolk must be classified as custard. Otherwise, the ingredients in ice cream and custard are about the same. Air is added to custard ...

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21 июля 2011


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