HISTORY OF GELATO – AN ITALIAN ICE CREAM WITH AN INTENSE FLAVOR
Frozen treats have been around for thousands of years. There are various fascinating stories surrounding these tasty frozen treats and still some mystery behind the origins.
The Emperors of China had flavors such as honey or fruit added to snow to make frozen desserts.
It is believed that explanation of gelato pod Nero, Emperor of Rome, sent slaves to the mountains to bring back ice and snow that was then mixed with fruit or honey.
It was the addition of milk that first made these frozen treats “ice cream”. The Tang Dynasty in China claims the credit for adding cow and goat milk to grounded rice and letting it ferment. Ninety four icemen were in charge of this duty for the King Tang of Shang, not a job that you would easily find today.
Bernardo Buontalenti, a Florentine cook, is credited with inventing modern ice cream in 1565. The first ice cream machine was invented by Sicilian Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli.
At first, gelato was a treat only for the rich. It could only be made in small quantities and had to be eaten within a few hours since it required too much ice to keep it frozen. It wasn’t until the first gelato carts were invented in the 1920s that the popularity of the concoction really grew. The city of Varese in Italy claims credit for this invention.
With the creation of better ways to refrigerate and freeze foods, frozen desserts become more available to the general public. As the popularity of frozen treats grew, different countries created their own versions. Gelato is considered the ice cream of Italy. The frozen dessert is made with many of the same ingredients as ice cream but with considerably less fat content and usually less sugar. The reason gelato contains less fat is due to the fact it’s made with milk instead of cream.
The mix of water and sugar in gelato is what keeps it from freezing solid like ice cream. The mix acts as a kind of anti-freeze. Generally, gelato is made in two ways. One is a hot process that includes pasteurization. In the U.S. a cold process is also popular.
While ice cream can be kept in a freezer for several months, gelato is best eaten within a few days. Gelato is flavored with a variety of things including fruit and cocoa. Nuts, cookies, waffle biscuits, and chocolate flakes are sometimes added later, after the gelato is frozen.
People eating gelato for the first time are often surprised by the intense flavor. With less fat in the mix, the flavors are more pronounced.
Less air is whipped into gelato as opposed to ice cream. This makes in much denser and also adds to its more intense flavor. The consistency is softer making it so it has some similarities to soft-serve ice cream in the U.S.
When looking for a place to try gelato, always insist on one that uses natural, not artificial flavors. Preferably, look for a shop that makes its own gelato in-house. Once you’ve sampled the intense flavors of gelato you may never return to ice cream again. Whether you choose a fruity concoction or chocolate covered in sprinkles, you won’t regret your choice. It’s certainly an indulgence on the pallet; one would never guess it’s a healthier alternative to some other dessert options.
Karin Schwarby is Managing Director of Carina’s Stone Fired Pizza-Gelato. Carina’s offers a dynamic and unique concept with a focus on fresh, natural and/or organic ingredients. Carina’s offer a wide variety of Pizzas, Signature Sandwiches, Custom Made Salads, delicious Pasta selections and various flavors of Gelato. Carina’s caters special events.
What Is Gelato?
It is an Italian version of ice cream. For weight watchers, the advantage of gelato over ice cream is in the buttermilk content and the sugar content. The gelato has about 25% of the buttermilk content and less than half of the sugar content, compared to ice cream. Non fat milk is generally used.
But, even if you are not on a diet, gelato may make you forget ice cream. A gelato is very dense and has a very intense flavor. It is extremely smooth, with little worry about the ice crystals that are generally present in ice cream after a few days.
Reduces ice crystals.
The manufacturing process accounts for the increasing gelato popularity with ice cream aficionados. It is always made in small batches and frozen quickly. Most ice cream is frozen in an assembly type line. While aging, the gelato, the milk binds with the water molecules, and this hydration reduces ice crystals. Gelato usually has a stabilizing base. The sugar content and water content are balanced to prevent solid freezing of gelato.
Many different flavors are available. They are far too numerous to name, but Galena, Illinois has several shops that feature gelato, each with different selections. The Main Street Gelato Bar has flavors such as mocha java chip, pumpkin, Venezuelan chocolate and carrot cake among its dozens of flavors. Their cannoli has an Irish cream gelato filling. Other shops in town feature fruit flavors, butterscotch, tiramisu, and so on.
How else can it be used? The cannoli filling, mentioned previously, is one example. Other uses can be in parfaits. The gelato bar, gelato print on demand company mentioned above, features “prohibition parfaits” – adding Kahlua to moche java chip. adding Bailey’s to the chocolate, adding Goldschlager to pumpkin. Many patrons devise their own special. Cones, either regular or sugar, are another option, but are not as popular, possibly detracting from the product’s flavor.
Is it expensive? Being a premium product, you would expect to pay much more. In Galena, gelato is priced comparable to ice cream. In one shop, a generous scoop is $3.50, 2 scoops with a topping is $7.
A recent trip to Chicago found prices just a little higher. This was in an area noted for its quality food and beverage items. Gelato may not be available in all area of Chicago.
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