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For other uses, see Gelato (disambiguation).
Type Ice cream
Place of origin Sicily, Italy
Serving temperature Cold
Main ingredients Milk, cream, sugar, flavoring ingredient (e.g. – fruit or nut puree)
Cookbook: Gelato  Media: Gelato

Gelato (Italian pronunciation: [dʒeˈlaːto]; plural: gelati [dʒeˈlaːti], from the Italian word gelato meaning "frozen"[1]) is an English term for ice cream made in an Italian style. Gelato is made with a base of milk, cream, and sugar, and flavored with fruit and nut purees and other flavorings. It is generally lower in fat, but higher in sugar, than other styles of ice cream.[2] Gelato typically contains less air and more flavoring than other kinds of frozen desserts, giving it a density and richness that distinguishes it from other ice creams.[3][4]

In Italy, by law, gelato must have at least 3.5% butterfat.[citation needed] In the United States, there is no legal standard of definition for gelato as there is for ice cream, which must contain at least 10% butterfat.[5] Gelato can be served anyway that ice cream is...cup, cone, sandwich, cake, pie, or on a stick.


The history of gelato is rife with myths and very little evidence to substantiate them. Some say it dates back to frozen desserts in Sicily, ancient Rome and Egypt made from snow and ice brought down from mountaintops and preserved below ground.[citation needed] Later, in 1686 the Italian fisherman from the island of Sicily Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli perfected the first ice cream machine.[6] However, the popularity of gelato among larger shares of the population only increased in the 1920s–1930s in the northern Italian city of Varese, where the first gelato cart was developed. Italy is the only country where the market share of artisanal gelato versus mass-produced gelato is over 55%.[7][8] Today, more than 5,000 modern Italian ice cream parlors employ over 15,000 people.[9]


Gelato in Florence, Italy

The mixture for gelato is typically prepared using a hot process first, where the sugars need to dissolve. White base is heated to 85 °C (185 °F) completing a pasteurization program. The hot process to make chocolate gelato varies, though typically it is flavored with cocoa powder.

As with other ice creams, the sugar in gelato prevents it from freezing solid. American commercial gelati are typically sweetened with sucrose, dextrose, or inverted sugar, and include a stabilizer such as guar gum.

See also[edit]

  • Stracciatella
  • Frozen custard, a frozen dessert made with cream and eggs
  • Italian ice, a frozen dessert made from either concentrated syrup flavoring or fruit purees.
  • Semifreddo, a class of semi-frozen dessert
  • Granita, a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings.
  • Frozen yogurt, a frozen dessert made with a base of yogurt rather than milk
  • Sorbet, called sorbetto in Italian


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Nutritious facts on gelato compared to ice cream". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ Ferrari, p. 21
  4. ^ Poggioli, Sylvia (17 June 2013). "Italian University Spreads The 'Gelato Gospel'". NPR. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  5. ^ "CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21". Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  6. ^ Storia del gelato. Retrieved on 2012-07-06.
  7. ^ See
  8. ^ See
  9. ^ See, outside of Italy the bigger number of gelaterie is located in UK, France, Germany and north Europe in general.


  • Ferrari, Luciano (2005). Gelato and Gourmet Frozen Desserts - A professional learning guide. ISBN 978-1-4092-8850-3. 

External links[edit]