There are several differences between gelato and ice cream which buyers and consumers should know. The different aspects can be found in the ratio of the ingredients and the process that these frozen treats are made.
The ingredients of both treats are relatively similar with each other but the amount that is put into each differs. Ice cream has around ten percent fat while the other has a lesser amount, around five to seven percent only. This difference is seen in the ratio of whole milk and cream which is added to the mixture. For lesser fat, there is more whole milk compared to the cream. In some custard based treats, the makers add egg yolks which can also tip the balance of fat even more. This is prevalent in most makers of the frozen dessert in the United States whereas the makers of the Italian based treat seldom use egg yolks in their recipe.
Air is also incorporated into the mixture of both treats but the amount differs greatly. Commercial ice cream makers churn their makers faster and harder. This process incorporates more air into the mixture and adds to the volume.
Some people think that the added volume means more ice cream but the reality is that it is just more air added to the mixture. The gelato is churned at a much slower pace than the commercial treat and this means that it is denser and more flavorful compared to the commercial treat. This also means that it is expected to be more expensive than its commercial competition because of the difference of the processing. Homemade frozen treats which are made in smaller machines operated by the home owner may actually be closer to the Italian treat because the standard machine does not come close to the commercial machines which can churn faster and harder.
The serving temperature of the treats is also another factor that differentiates the two of them. Gelato is served in warmer temperatures than ice cream which is why it is more malleable than the frozen treat. Ice cream is always served frozen which makes is more difficult to be flavorful since the cold can numb the taste buds. The freezing temperature can also cause the fat to coat the tongue which can affect how ice cream tastes to the individual. Since the Italian gelato has less fat, there is not much to coat the tongue and affect the taste that the individual experiences.