Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Lily. Lily Wonders, “How was gelato made and why is it so popular?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Lily!
Mmmm. On a hot day, there's nothing quite like the cold delicious treat we all know as ice cream. But have you ever WONDERed about if ice cream exists in other places around the world? If you were to travel to Europe, for example, would you find the same kind of ice cream you're used to eating?
Frozen treats are common all around the world, but they're not always exactly the same. For the sake of argument, let's say you go to Italy. What would you find there? You'd find a delicious, sweet, cold concoction similar to ice cream. It's called gelato!
Gelato is actually the Italian word for ice cream. It comes from the Latin word for “frozen." Like the ice cream you're probably used to, gelato is made with milk, cream, sugars and a wide variety of flavorings. If you've ever had gelato, though, you know it's a bit different from the ice cream you'll find in American freezers.
There are three main ways in which gelato differs from American ice cream. First, gelato has a lot less fat than American ice cream. Whereas American ice cream usually has a fat content of about 18-26%, gelato generally has less than half that amount. In fact, gelato often has less than 10% fat content.
Less fat doesn't mean less taste, though. Gelato is famous for being particularly creamy and full of flavor. Less fat does mean that gelato isn't frozen as solidly as ice cream. It's usually served 10-15 degrees warmer than ice cream. This means gelato melts in your mouth more quickly, letting you experience more robust flavors.
Finally, gelato is denser than ice cream. When ice cream is made, a lot of air is added to increase the quantity of ice cream produced. As quantity is increased, though, quality decreases. No air is added to gelato, which makes it a higher quality treat with a creamy, rich flavor.
Does it surprise you that ice cream contains so much air? Since it's a delicious frozen treat, you'd probably never guess that air is a key ingredient. If you let one scoop of ice cream and gelato melt, though, you can see that there's more gelato left in your cup!
If you find yourself in Italy and are hungry for a cool treat, definitely seek out some homemade gelato. You can find it in gelato shops known as gelaterie. Of course, you can find gelaterie all around the world, including in the United States. If you're a fan of ice cream (and, really, who isn't?), then don't miss your chance to try gelato the next time you see it!