Gelato vs Ice Cream: What’s the Difference?

Gelato vs Ice Cream - What's the Difference? |

Mmmmm…gelato!  I LOVE this frozen treat!  Who doesn’t like gelato though?  (Please tell me there is no one. 🙂  With endless flavors available to choose from, this delicious treat should be suitable to anyone’s palate.  By the way, in case you are not familiar, gelato is Italy’s version of ice cream.  Gelato trumps ice cream in taste and texture though because of the differences in the ways the two are made.  Gelato is not just the Italian word for ice cream.  The two cool treats are different.  Gelato is gelato and ice cream is ice cream.  What are the differences you ask?   

  1. Gelato is made with a higher whole milk to cream ratio, which means less fat than ice cream.  Gelato has anywhere from 3-8% fat, while ice cream has 10-12% fat.  The benefit of this?  Less fat means stronger flavors are able to emerge when they hit your taste buds.  
  2. Gelato is churned at a lower speed than ice cream, which means less air is whipped into the mixture.  Ice cream contains as much as 50% air, while gelato only contains 20-30% air.  This is why gelato seems creamier than ice cream.  
  3. Ice cream is served completely frozen, while gelato is served at a slighter warmer temperature.  This is why it’s so fun to eat gelato and lick around the yummy cone or cup before the gelato starts to melt.  

I love walking into the different gelaterias and seeing the fluffy, whipped, (almost) frozen goodness displayed in all its glory of colors, flavors and toppings.  My mouth always starts to water in anticipation as soon as we reach the door to enter inside.  

Another thing I love about gelato is that it is accepted in the Italian culture.  There are gelaterias all over the city to choose from.  Italians treat themselves to gelato on a very regular basis.  Gelato is part of the Italian culture.  It’s accepted and actually promoted to have a regular indulgence in the yummy treat.  Maybe it’s just me, but usually when I went for ice cream in the States it was for something special or a real treat.  Here you don’t have to have a special reason to stop for gelato.  You stop just because it’s the afternoon and you want one.  I love that about the culture!

Another thing I love about gelato is you don’t have to choose only one flavor, you can normally choose up to three flavors at a time.  Yes, I’m an adult, but this always rocks my world.  I always get a childlike giggle inside when the array of gelato is staring back at me from the case and I remind myself that I not only get to choose one flavor but THREE!  I like to try new flavors, but my standard ‘go to’ flavors are Bacio (chocolate & hazelnut), Pistachio, and Stracciatella (similar to American chocolate chip)

The Flavor of Art in Italy

Coffee and art … hardly a better way to start the day.  I love when a barista adds a little art to my cappuccino.  As if the delicious coffee itself is not good enough, I always get excited when the barista at the bar passes me my drink with an extra treat.  The fun, little designs completely brighten my day.  I guess when it comes down to it, it really is about the little things in life.  

I’ve included a few of the fun cups I’ve had below.  

A smiling heart

A flower and a funny face (reminds me of Frankenstein for some reason…maybe the barista was trying to tell us something…hahaha 🙂

An apple

A sweet, little heart


The Flavors of the Week

In a follow up to this week’s La Dolce Vita post, I thought I would share my sweet finds from the market yesterday.  Tuesday is normally ‘market day’ for me, and yesterday I came home with a variety of fresh goodies from the market.  I only spent about €7 for everything, and this will last us most of the week.  The ‘flowers’ are actually fiori di zucca, or zucchini flowers.  Remember the recipe I shared here?  I was able to score 15 flowers for only €1, along with a large bunch of basil for free, from the sweet signora selling the flowers.  They made a yummy side dish with dinner last night!  It is much cheaper for us to buy fresh, healthy food from the market than it is for us to buy packaged food from the supermarket.  Just another reason why I LOVE the markets here in Italy!  

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Why Rome?

Fiori di Zucca: A Freebie Turned Treasure

One of the greatest things about living in Italy is the open fruit and veggie markets.  Having access to fresh, seasonal food is wonderful!  I LOVE shopping at the markets, and always look forward to my shopping days during the week.  I frequent some of the same vendors at the market each week and have developed somewhat of an informal friendship with some of them.  Each week I go to the same girl at the fruit and veggie stand and she always gives me something extra or puts a treat in my bag (not to mention a few discounts, which is always a plus).  Last week she loaded me up!  She gave me several carrots, a stalk of celery, parsley, basil (one of my favorite things), and for the kicker…a container filled with Fiori di Zucca.  
Fiori di Zucca are zucchini flowers.  My first thought was, “Thanks, but what am I going to do with these?”  Since I have never made them before and only tried them in a restaurant once, I took the challenge and made it my small mission to learn how to cook this true Italian dish.  I stuffed the flowers with a mixture of ricotta and basil, fried them in olive oil and served them with a tomato and basil relish.  They were delicious!  The plate of ten were gone in about 60 seconds, so I’m considering this little mission well accomplished. I have included the recipe below.  
*Note – I come from my MawMaw’s (my grandmother) school of cooking, meaning I don’t stick to measurements when cooking.  When baking, yes, of course.  When cooking, “a pinch of this and a dash of that will do it,” as my MawMaw likes to say.  
Fiori di Zucca Recipe
  • zucchini flowers (I had 10)
  • around 200 g of ricotta cheese (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 egg
  • 6-7 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated over other ingredients in bowl
  • salt & pepper to taste (this is where you put a pinch of this and a dash of that 🙂
I mixed the ingredients together in a bowl, then used a table spoon to stuff the flowers.  I coated a frying pan with olive oil and added a little extra for frying.  I heated the oil, then added the flowers.  I cooked them until they were golden brown, which only took a few minutes on each side.  I removed the flowers and transferred them to a plate lined with paper towels to help absorb the extra oil while they cooled.  
Tomato & Basil Relish
  • red tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 4-5 basil leaves, chopped
  • a few splashes of balsamic vinegar
I mixed all the ingredients together in a bowl and set in the fridge to chill while I stuffed and fried the zucchini flowers.  To serve, I spooned the relish over the flowers once we had them on our eating plates.
This dish was a hit.  I’ll definitely buy the flowers the next time I see them at the market.  It’s something fun, different and very tasty to spice up a weekday dinner at home.