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Ice Cream vs. Gelato vs. Sorbet


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#1 Fat Guy

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 02:48 PM

Let's begin by defining our terms. Anybody?

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#2 Steve Plotnicki

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 03:10 PM

Fat Guy you screwed it up because Glace (I can't make the accent) is better than both of them. But among the two you listed, gelato is better. And this is even after having ice cream at what is considered the best ice cream joint in the Boston area on Thursday night, Christina's in Cambridge, Mass. I had a scoop of Banana and a scoop of Izuki bean. Pretty good but it didn't kill me. But the all time best sorbet used to be (and maybe still is) Fruit de Passion from Berthillion on the Ile St. Louis. The stuff rocks.

#3 Beachfan

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 03:14 PM

The Italians win on the gelato front, and the French win on the sorbet front, even displacing the Lemon Ice King of Corona.

Surprisingly enough, Haagen Danz Sorbets are pretty darn good for store bought.
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#4 SobaAddict70

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 03:15 PM

All hail Plotnicki-san. He has returned!

:smile:

As for me, humm, that's pretty close to a tie.

I can't really decide, but I would have to agree with Mr. P. -- gelato owns ice cream any day.

Now, as for definitions, that'll have to wait unless someone else wants to take a shot. I'd volunteer, but I'm at the office...taking a break.

SA

#5 wingding

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 03:26 PM

I make both,and like both kinds;there are variations from place to place,but in general...ice cream has a higher percentage of butterfat[milk,cream,eggs],and more air pumped into it in the churning process.Artisinal gelato has more milk in proportion to eggs and cream,sometimes uses other sugars[glucose and dextrose powder for instance]to obtain a softer texture,and has less air pumped into it.I think that a typical gelato base can carry flavors more strongly than ice cream,and once turned it is usually held at a higher temperature than ice cream,keeping it very creamy.The extra eggs and cream give ice cream a mouth feel that many people prefer,and it feels colder .Within these two categories are many variations...

#6 Bux

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 03:28 PM

There is gelato in NY, notably at Ferraras on Grand Street and other parts of Little Italy and SoHo. None of it has impressed me or reminded me of gelato in Florence. Is it my imagination or is the gelato in NY totally unrelated.
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#7 wingding

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 03:31 PM

Most,if not all ,of the gelati in N.Y. are probably made with redi- made mixes,with lots of stabilizer and artificial crap,which gives them a funny aftertaste.The real thing is more expensive to make,and has to be churned daily.

#8 Jason Perlow

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 03:31 PM

This is a totally asinine conversation. Neither is "better". Gelato is an ice milk, ice cream is well, ice cream. And then there are various gradiations of ice cream such as the superpremiums according to how much butterfat is in it. And then you got the ice custards.

Neither of which I can fucking eat anymore because I'm intolerant to cassein and lactose. So fuck all of you for being able to eat it.

:laugh:
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#9 Steve Klc

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 03:49 PM

Steve--I thought the best in Cambridge was Toscanini's.
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#10 SobaAddict70

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 03:51 PM

Heh.

Well, can't you take lactaid or something?

I do believe they make lactose-free ice cream out there.

I'm lactose intolerant btw, but that doesn't stop me from drinking milk. In fact, I've been weaning myself back onto milk slowly but surely. I find it kind of strange that I'd grow up drinking milk all the time and then one day in my early 20s, wake up one morning and be lactose intolerant (cheese, yogurt and ice cream don't produce the same effect on me that whole/skim/low-fat milk does). I think that if I go slowly and in moderation at first, that I should be able to eventually conquer this strange condition.

But only time will tell.

SA

#11 LaNiña

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 05:31 PM

Has anybody been to Il Gelatone on 3rd Ave. between 28th/29th? I know some serious gelato eaters who adore it. Keep meaning to try.

#12 jaybee

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 05:49 PM

I prefer a really good gorgonzola with an old burgundy to either of these.

#13 Robert Schonfeld

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 06:37 PM

The gorgonzola and wine at the end of a good meal; some fruit also. Then, a couple of hours later, a stroll into town for gelato.

If you're in Florence, Vivoli. I trust it's still there.
Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

#14 Fat Guy

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 06:41 PM

Does anybody have an opinion of Ciao Bella Gelato?

Getting back to definitions . . . I too was under the impression that gelato is made from a base of milk and eggs, whereas ice cream is based on cream and eggs. But the gelato I've eaten has not had the properties I'd expect from an ice milk product. What's up with that?

And how does the definition of glace differ materially from one or the other? (It's easy to make the accent mark, but our search engine works better if everybody just uses English spellings for everything.)

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#15 rozrapp

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 06:54 PM

Nina Wugmeister posted on Jul 22 2002, 08:31 PM

Has anybody been to Il Gelatone on 3rd Ave. between 28th/29th? I know some serious gelato eaters who adore it. Keep meaning to try.


Nina, I just stopped in there on Saturday for the first time. (I, too, had been meaning to try it ever since it opened.) There are so many choices, from straight fruit to mixtures, it was hard to decide. I finally settled on tiramisu. I don't know what the ingredients were, but it did not taste like vanilla. Maybe they did something with marscapone (?). There was a little chocolate running through it, as well as a few little pieces of ladyfingers mixed in, and the server put a whole ladyfinger on top. Though I am far from an expert on gelato, I know what tastes great -- at least to me -- and this gelato was extremely creamy and sinfully delicious! :biggrin:

#16 SteveW

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 08:04 PM

I like my Italian gelato rock hard, instead of soft(it gives a totally different taste to me). Most places serve gelato soft, with the exceptions of their gelato based desserts. Sicilian gelato is different from the other Italian gelato, in that it rarely contains eggs or cream.

#17 Sandra Levine

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 08:48 PM

Cones on Bleecker St. in Greenwich Village also has delicious, authentic gelato in a wide variety of flavors that change in part almost daily. The owners are Argentinian-Italian. There is a little explanation of the difference between ice cream and gelato that I regret no paying more attention to, but it did say something about a higher proportion of milk and less air than ice cream. I agree that gelato seems to carry flavor better than ice cream. I love their dulce de leche and ginger flavors -- ginger actually comes in both gelato and sorbet, but Steve P., I'm in total agreement with you about the superiority of Bertillion's passion fruit sorbet to any other sorbet flavor. The only one that has ever come close was the mango sorbet Rachel brought to the NY eGullet potluck.

#18 Steve Plotnicki

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 10:01 PM

Steve Klc - What do I know. They just happened to have the "Best of Boston" article in some magazine when I was up there and they listed Christina's as the best. The story they told in the article is how the owner made a special order of avocado ice cream for someone's birthday and how delicious it came out. With just a hint of avocado flavor. But next time I go I will try Toscannini's.

Actually the Saint Ambrose gelatos used to be very good, especially their passion fruit. But they are no longer on Madison Avenue and I'm not sure the Fauchon that replaced it is of the same quality. But they have a Saint Ambrose in Southampton but I don't get there that often. But as long as we're talking ice cream, I had loads of it during my 4 day swing through New England. Other ice cream highlights were Four Seas in Centerville on the Cape. That was a great old school place. And the scoop of "The Full Vermonty" I had at the Ben & Jerrry's in Pittsfield was really good.

#19 Suvir Saran

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 10:12 PM

Sant Ambrose made the best Passion Fruit and Hazelnut gelato.

Cones is excellent. I love their ginger as well Sandra. They used to make a Indian Tea Ice Cream that I would go and prepare with them. It was very expensive to prepare and I had a very limited supply of tea leaves for them.

Have you tried their green apple gelato? It is superb.

A friend just came back from Argentina and said the Gelatos they had there were even better. Now I am ready to fly to Argentina.

Does anyone have good gelato recipes???

PS: I am sooo bummed that I missed my chance to taste Rachels famous mango sorbet. Is there going to be another time for those that could not do so last time??

#20 porkpa

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Posted 23 July 2002 - 12:44 AM

Has anybody tries Graeters? They are supposedly the oldest ice cream producer in the United States. They have stores in Cinncinnati and Columbus Ohio; also Lexington and Louisville Kentucky. You can get home delivery through their webasite.
We received some in a Christmas package. The chocolate chunk flavors, especially the raspberry chocolate chunk are incredible. Also very good are the banana(really all of the fresh fruit flavors), the pistachio(when available) and peppermint stick.
Recently Oprah gave them a plug calling them the best ice cream producers anywhere. Instantaneous results, to the the point where they have had trouble keeping up with demand. Definately worth a try.
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#21 macrosan

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Posted 23 July 2002 - 01:09 AM

SteveP, you need to leave your accent alone. Glace (meaning ice cream) doesn't have an accent. Glace with an acute accent means "iced" as in fruits glacees.

I'm confused by the question, Fat Guy. Gelato just means ice cream. Are you asking whether people prefer Italian ice cream to American ice cream ? There are as many variations of one as the other.

The Italians make soft ice cream and hard, they make it with milk or cream, they create coarse and smooth textures. As far as I know, this isn't a regional issue, it's a "manufacturer's choice" issue. I was in Sicily last year, and frankly I was disappointed with most of the ice cream I tried. Many of the old-style gelaterie who traditionally made their own home-made gelati now seem to be buying in mixes. Certainly their products all looked the same, and tasted the same. They've all gone Dayville.

I found exactly the same a couple of months ago in Sorrento, and last week in De Panne in Belgium (traditionally a wonderful region for "ijs/glace") I found the same again.

#22 oraklet

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Posted 23 July 2002 - 06:21 AM

i have often, succesfully (meaning that everybody else seems to love it), made what is called in franco-danish "parfait-is": whipped cream with vanilla plus whipped eggyolks with sugar, both gently mixed together, and freezed. to prevent excessive ice-splinters from developing, it is stirred with a wooden spoon after half an hour. only problem is:

THIS IS NOT REAL ICE CREAM! TOO AIRY! DOESN'T MELT THE RIGHT WAY!

so i've tried to avoid whipping the cream, and instead i've heated the mix carefully (i've been told this is the italian way of doing it). but for all my care, it either falls apart due to too high temp., or it ends up being too hard when freezed. please tell me, someone, how to solve this problem?

oh, and i know: i definitely will have to get hold of an ice cream-machine.

as for the distinctions, how about this:

1)sorbet does not contain milk, cream or sugar, whereas glace may contain some or all.
2)glace is french, ice cream english, and gelato italian for the same thing.

gelato...does that not literally mean "glacé" or "iced"? and by the way, don't they have "sorbetto", too?
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#23 Fat Guy

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Posted 23 July 2002 - 06:26 AM

I'm confused by the question, Fat Guy. Gelato just means ice cream. Are you asking whether people prefer Italian ice cream to American ice cream ? There are as many variations of one as the other.

That's one position on the definition issue: That gelato and ice cream are synonymous. In fact I find your post quite compelling. I think you'll find, however, that many people disagree with that view.

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#24 oraklet

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Posted 23 July 2002 - 06:49 AM

oh dear me, i now notice that i wrote that sorbet does not contain sugar. i meant to say
EGGS.
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#25 Ron Johnson

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Posted 23 July 2002 - 07:28 AM

Has anybody tries Graeters? They are supposedly the oldest ice cream producer in the United States. They have stores in Cinncinnati and Columbus Ohio; also Lexington and Louisville Kentucky. You can get home delivery through their webasite.

Yes, we have Graeter's here in Louisville and it is the best ice cream I have had. That being said, I prefer gelato and frozen custard from St. Louis. The best Graeter's is the raspberry chocolate chip. The chocolate chips are made by pouring a stream of high quality melted chocolate into the near frozen cream mixture as it is being turned in these copper pot things. The result is uneven chunks of chocolate that are good enough to eat on their own like chocolate bars. hmmm.

#26 Jim Dixon

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Posted 23 July 2002 - 10:33 AM

For me, 'gelato' (which actually just means 'frozen') means no eggs and less butterfat than ice cream. Last summer Saveur had some recipes from Sicily (July-Aug 01, couldn't find the recipe at the Saveur site) that included cornstarch. I've used plain gelatin in the past, but the cornstarch also worked well. The reason for either is thicken the milk a bit (make it more cream-like) and provide a more unctuous mouthfeel.

When I make it at home, I typically use a mixture of about half skim milk and half half-n-half (that's a lot of halves), but only because we drink skim so usually have it on the reefer.

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#27 dimitri steinberg

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Posted 24 July 2002 - 02:37 PM

Steve:

Re: Ciao Bella

I am a big fan and am continually disappointed that they do not seem to sell my favorite flavor - Malted Milk Ball - by the pint. I think that they do a great job with their Hazelnut as well. I have been seriously tempted by their website to buy in bulk.

#28 macrosan

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Posted 24 July 2002 - 03:04 PM

I'm still confused by what people think they're talking about here.

Gelato means ice cream, ice cream means gelato. Now if ib the USA, the word gelato has been hijacked to refer to one particular style of ice cream, then fine, someone needs to define that for me.

But to talk about "ice cream having more air in it" when different ice creams can contain anything from 20% up to 90% air, or to say that "ice cream is made with cream" when some ice cream is made with cream, some with full cream milk and some with half-cream milk, and so on, this discussion is going nowhere.

Ice cream does not have a single recipe any more than apple pie has a single recipe. It depends what sort of ice cream you want to make, and who is making it. The variety of ice cream found in Italy is huge, the variety in Belgium is huge, the variety in Britain is huge.

Can someone at least try to disconfuse me ?

#29 Wilfrid

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Posted 24 July 2002 - 03:12 PM

I expect it's a bit like "shrimp scampi", Macrosan - God bless 'em. I share your puzzlement.

#30 Fat Guy

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Posted 24 July 2002 - 03:31 PM

Okay, I'm just back from a consultation (and tasting; the things I do for you people!) with the Argentinean "ice cream chef" (that's what it says on his card) guy down at Cones on the I-can't-believe-how-much-more-gentrified-and-like-the-Upper-East-Side-it-gets-every-week Bleecker Street. Let me preface my remarks here by saying that while what he had to say was interesting the better reason to go to this place is that the ice cream or gelato or whatever the heck it is totally kicks ass. Ciao Bella Gelato is superb, but Cones is in a completely different category of excellence. I can't say I've had better anywhere, ever.

Now, this guy seemed to be of the opinion -- as are many here -- that ice cream and gelato imply two different things. He believes it so much that he calls his place an ice cream shop even though he believes he serves gelato, because he believes people in New York historically think gelato is worse than ice cream when in fact it is better.

His definition was that ice cream uses 3 parts cream to 1 part whole milk whereas gelato uses 3 parts whole milk to 1 part cream. Cream he says allows a lot of air to incorporate when it is whipped, whereas milk doesn't hold air easily and therefore doesn't incorporate much at all during the whipping process. Thus, counterintuitively, gelato is richer-seeming even though it has less fat.

I would just like to add that the more I read the more I agree with Macrosan. I'm just reporting here.

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