Home > About Ice cream > Gelato


I realize most people do not really know the difference between gelato and ice cream. In fact most of us are not even sure if there is a difference or not. To begin, perhaps we should first understand the word “Gelato”. Gelato is actually an Italian word which means “frozen”. In Italy, they just called it Gelato as how the Chinese uses “冰淇淋”.

What are the difference in structure between Ice cream and Gelato?

Gelato to me is simply Italian ice cream. It uses the same basic ingredients, namely milk, cream, sugar, eggs as ice cream. Italians make ice cream with less butterfat (6-8%), less air to create a dense ice cream. Nowadays super premium ice cream like haagan daz also contains very little air.

For those who tried making ice cream at home, you would know for a fact if you use 8% butterfat to make ice cream, the ice cream is likely going to turn out icy. What keeps the Gelato texture creamy, despite lower butterfat, is an important ingredient called stabilizer. [Refer to my previous post on stabilizer] Scientifically as the butterfat level decreases, the amount of stabilizer concentration would have to be increased or you would get an icy texture.

In addition there is a reliance to use technological sugar like dextrose, maltodextrin as it improves the texture of Gelato better than normal sugar (sucrose). These are also commonly used in the making frozen yogurt.

To be fair, a lot of ice cream retailers also use the above to make ice cream though I personally do not think it is necessary.

Is Gelato healthier?

From the perspective of butterfat, it appears that Gelato is healthier. But then again butterfat is not actually evil. Butterfat is simply fats from milk.

Moreover the differential in butterfat between ice cream and gelato is not really that enormous. Using a general classification, gelato has 8% butterfat while ice cream has 14% butterfat. Every scoop [about 100ml] will probably save you 6g of butterfat which is really not alot.

If you consume butter, butter is 80% butterfat. This mean 10g of butter [which is just a tiny slab] actually contain 8g of butterfat.

From an overall perspective, I don’t think Gelato is healthier. I think both are as sinful. However I don’t personally like those stabilizer or technological sugar as I think it just deviates from what we call home-made and natural product.

Does Gelato taste better?

This is a tough question. I have not really taste exceptionally good gelato so far in Singapore. I was told if you want to find the best gelato, you have to find it in Italy. As for ice cream, overall I prefer Tom Palette and Udders.


There is really not much of a difference between Gelato and Ice cream in my view. Having a lower butterfat does not really make it a different product from ice cream. Even within different brands of ice cream, there are differing percentages of butterfat used.

Interestingly, gelato cannot be classified as “ice cream” under the US Law because US defined “ice cream” as a product with at least 10% butterfat. Perhaps this is a deliberate attempt to differentiate Ice cream from Gelato?

In Singapore, fortunately or unfortunately you can call it whatever you want. There are some retailers who called their product Gelato Ice cream.

I guess we will just call our product ice cream or merely ice cream, since none of us can speak Italian.

Categories: About Ice cream Tags: ,
  1. Ooof
    January 3, 2012 at 12:10 am

    thristy dog ftw!

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