What is Gelato?

Gelato is very different from typical British-style ice creams.  Made with a base of milk, cream, and sugar – then flavoured with fruit and nut purees. Using more milk than cream, it generally has a lower fat content than other styles of ice cream.

Whereas other kinds frozen desserts are churned at high speed to pump them with air, gelato is distinguished from inferior ice creams by its density and richness.

History of Gelato

The myths surrounding the origins of gelato are disputed with very little documentary evidence to support the many stories and legends.

Some claim Signore Gelato was a dairy farmer in the north of what is now modern day Italy, who mixed cream with sugar and fresh Alpine snow

Other say it dates back to the frozen desserts and ice-capped mountains of Sicily.  In the third century AD, the ancient Romans certainly harvested snow and ice from lakes and mountains, to be stored in underground in straw-covered pits for food preservation.

Whatever the true story, the popularity of gelato spread during in the 1920s and ‘30s from in the northern Italian city of Varese, where the first gelato cart was developed.

What is known is that in 1686 the Sicilian fisherman, Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli, perfected the first ice cream making machine.

And today, there are now more than 5,000 modern ‘gelati’ in Italy.