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Fat Guy

Ice Cream vs. Gelato vs. Sorbet

84 posts in this topic

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.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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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.

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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 ?

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

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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.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Well if nothing else, Steven, you've got me ready to dive into Cones next time I'm in NYC. Where on Bleecker is it ? Is it conveniently close to Babbo :wink:

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Quite close. 272 Bleecker between Morton and Jones. Great (and pretty) sorbet too. A truly hideous establishment, though -- badly in need of a rethinking and renovation.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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As for the definitions, maybe it is simply that, in general, Italian ice creams (gelato) are made with more milk than cream, while American ice cream is made, again, in general, with more cream than milk. I'm sure that there are hundreds of recipes or formulas and variations.

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Has Cones' management, "ice cream chef," or philosophy (if it can have a chef, it can have a philosophy) changed since it opened? I recall trying the place twice, sampling chocolate and one or more other unrecalled, probably fruit, flavors, and finding it too sweet, less to my taste than the subtler Ciao Bella.

In fact, I found it so sweet that I sent my sugar-cube-munching sucroholic friend, who pronounced it his kind of place.


"To Serve Man"

-- Favorite Twilight Zone cookbook

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

I think that La Casa Gelato may have a gorgonzola-burgundy flavor. Check it out the next time you're in Vancouver.


Hungry Monkey May 2009

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to whip the cream or not?

ice cream/glace/gelato made with whipped cream does not melt in the same way on the tongue as it does when un-whipped. all the little bubbles of air prevent the taste from coming through as intensely as when the ice cream melts "on the spot".

and maybe this is the basis of the confusion gelato v. ice cream. when the cones-guy states that ice cream contains a lot of cream, this may be because traditionally, american ice cream is made with whipped cream, whereas the low content of cream in gelato may reflect that traditionally the italians will create the structure of their gelato by gently heating the egg+cream/milk mixt. a procedure i think you can find in e. david's italian cooking?

but what do i know of american ice cream apart from haagen dasz...


christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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I used to work (many years ago) for a company that owned an ice-cream manufacturer (Nielsen's in the UK). What I recall is that ice cream is made up of four primary ingredients --- milk, fat, water, air, and flavoring. They made four ranges of ice cream which all had totally different textures and styles. All they did was control the mix of the first four ingredients. The same milk went inot very creamy soft ice cream and hard non-creamy ice cream. They just injected different quantities of air at different pressures to achieve the result they wanted.

So I don't believe that major manufacturers use whipped cream at all. I guess they use milk, mix it with fat, and inject air. Soft ice cream that comes out of machines (like Mr Whippy or Mr Softee in the UK) have the air injected into the milk/fat mix by the machine. They have up to 90% air by volume.

I guess that the samll manufacturer who doesn't have that sort of machinery might use cream to avoid having to mix fat into the milk, and probably a regular beater rather than a pressurised air injector.

I am gonna get out there and do a Fat Guy. I'm going to eat ice cream till my gut is frozen solid, and ask the shops what they do. Wish me luck. In the immortal words of someone, "This could take a while".

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Macrosan, I thought where we came from ice cream was mainly made from cornflour. :sad: I must say, I can live without the stuff.

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Best ice cream I've tried here in Northe Jersey is Applegate Farms in Montclair. Their cones/dishes on-site and handpacked pinits and quarts are excellent product but their pre-packed stuff from the freezer is just average at best.

Best gelato I've ever had was in Toronto's Little Italy - absolutely incredible and a way creamier feel to me than ice cream. I've had the same flavor gelato (Tiramisu) at Cones on Bleecker and found the stuff in Toronto to be far superior. Haven't been lucky enough to get to the Isle de St. Louis but had and insanely good fresh mango sorbet at Latitudes, the restaurant operated by Hilton on Sunset Key just off Key West FL. It may be owned by a chain but their sorbet was incredible. have been back there once since then and they had watermelon sorbet - very good but not in the same league as the mango.

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.

Hmmm... do you suppose she'll start an Ice Cream Club and pick some lucky viewers to join her at her palatial estate to eat ice cream and discuss its merits? Sign me up...

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Didn't the definitional question of gelato vs. ice cream come up on The Splendid Table recently (like 2 weeks ago)? IIRC, the higher proportion of milk was one difference. The other was the temperature at which it's served: gelato is served at a higher temperature than ice cream, and therefore it melts on your tongue immediately to deliver that intense flavor. Ms. Kasper went so far to say that places that serve gelato at ice cream temperatures are missing the point.

Again, this is just from memory....

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There's a reference to David Rosengarten picking the best ice cream shops in America on the July 3 broadcast, but the writeup doesn't contain the kind of information you're talking about:

http://table.mpr.org/

I think you can listen to most of the shows online, via RealAudio.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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.

That is the best gelato in NYC. Hands down. It is a close as you are going to come to the gelato of Florence.


"An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup." - H. L. Mencken

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Looking for definitions or descriptors of the perfect ice cream and gelato - what are the essentials qualities you should be looking for?

DH

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Looking for definitions or descriptors of the perfect ice cream and gelato - what are the essentials qualities you should be looking for?

DH

For both gelato and ice cream, mouth-feel is important, I think. I don't like eating ice cream that is overly-fatty, where it leaves an unpleasant film on the roof of your mouth. But it should be creamy enough so that it is pleasantly smooth. Not too sweet (but sweet enough), also, with the main base flavor showing through, be it chocolate, blueberry, etc. For gelato, I like it's denseness but not to the point of hardness. I always enjoyed gelato that when you take a spoonful, it doesn't let go quite at first, but is sort of "stringy" (can't think of a better word). In gelato's case, not overly sweet and with the core flavors shining through. For ice cream, I don't like giant chunks of stuff in it, but prefer the stuff to be in smaller bits, more easily incorporated into my mouth without feeling awkward. :cool:

I'd love to learn to make gelato (vs. ice cream) with my ice cream maker (Cuisinart). I'm not sure how to get that lovely denseness going on, though, WITHOUT that powder that some gelaterias use. Does anyone have any suggestions, or if this has been discussed before, could I be pointed to the appropriate thread? Thank you!

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One of my fav. foods...Gelato!!!

Well - Just earlier today I enjoyed 2 cones at Italy's ranked 13th gelateria...Bar Trieste in Jesi (AN).

The owner is a certified Italian sommelier and makes all of his gelatos from scratch - using all natural ingredients + all the ingredients are listed with the appropriate flavor.

I suppose the major diff. between the 2 is that Gelato is almost always with the presence of eggs - mostly yolks - it is richer, smoother than ice cream - and the freezers are diff.

I cant pinpoint it yet but a few more months in Italy and I should know the exact diff.!!!

Ciao

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Yep nothing quite like breaking at 15:00 for a nice Gelato at the local bar.

The main difference is that Gelato uses eggs and whole milk instead of cream. Overall Gelato has much less fat content than Ice Cream. The other difference depending on the quality of the Ice Cream; is that most Gelato is made "today” and from fresh ingredients.


Never trust a skinny chef

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A few things:

As I imagine many know, "gelato" and "ice cream" mean the same thing in two different languages. Gelato is merely a specific style of ice cream that happens to be prevalent in Italy. We use "gelato" as short hand for "Italian-style ice cream" but it is just as much variation between different styles we call "ice cream: as there is between what we call "gelato" and what we call "ice cream."

I think it is a mistake to suppose that the use of eggs (i.e., a custard base) is a defining characteristic of Italian-style ice cream. First, it is not the case that Italian-style ice creams are always made with a custard base. Second, it is the case that plenty of American-style ice creams are made with a custard base. In fact, custard bases are so common that there is a special name for American-style ice cream made without a custard base: Philadelphia style.

The significant differences between the American and Italian styles are two

1. American style uses cream and has a much higher butterfat content. As the ice cream is frozen, air is actually "whipped" into the ice cream, making it lighter. Think about the texture of a fresh scoop of American-style ice cream -- all those little holes. This is possible because of the use of cream. Italian style uses milk and is not fatty enough to whip up.

2. Italian style is frozen and maintained at a much higher temperature. This temperature difference also contributes to a denser texture. One big problem with purchasing Italian-style ice cream in American grocery stores is that it is held at too low a temperature, which negatively affects the texture.

The end result of these two differences is that Italian-style ice cream is much more dense than its American counterparts. This provides a rich mouthfeel while at the same time being light due to the lower fat content. American-style ice cream works the opposite side of the equation. The air pockets provide lightness while the fat content provides richness.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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I visited once the gelato fair in Longarone, the place where many of the Italians who run Gelaterias in Germany and Austria are coming from. There have been recipe books, and many recipes included "wood sugar" (dextrose?) used in order to control the freezing point without the need to add too much real sugar (and sweetness therefore).

Even the smallest pro machine (1 gallone) had a very powerful motor (1 hp) to knead the raw gelato until sufficient low temperature and creating very fine crystals, I suspect. There must be some freezing vs. heating by kneading equilibrium working as well to get that consistency.


Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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Wood sugar is xylose, which Merriam-Webster says is a "crystalline aldose sugar (C5H10O5) that is not fermentable with ordinary yeasts and occurs especially as a constituent of xylans from which it is obtained by hydrolysisxylose." It is extracted from wood or straw and sometimes used in foods for diabetics.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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