Our Gelato Story
I first got introduced to gelato in Italy. Next to the availability of espresso, gelato is everywhere in Italy. Unfortunately once you try it, it is tough to stop, it taste so darn good. Then, while I was at a Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) conference in Miami a number of years ago there was a booth at the tradeshow, a gelato equipment/product company. To be honest, I thought I would just get a little sample they were passing out and sure I took a brochure….maybe I took the bait, too. Soon thereafter I had purchased all the equipment necessary to make our own gelato. By February of 2001, we were officially in the gelato business…... sweet!!
Gelato is Italian for ice cream. As such, gelato is made with some of the same ingredients as most other frozen dairy desserts. Milk, cream, various sugars, flavoring including fruit and nut purees are the main ingredients. Gelato differs from ice cream in that it has a lower fat content, typically 3.5% versus 10-12% for ice cream. Non-fat milk is added as a solid. The sugar content in gelato is precisely balanced with the milk/water content to act as an anti-freeze that prevents the product from freezing solid. The types of sugar used are sucrose, and dextrose and invert-sugar to control the apparent sweetness.
Unlike commercial ice cream in the US which is frozen in a continuous assembly line freezer, gelato is frozen very quickly in individual small batches in a batch freezer. The batch freezer incorporates air into the mix as it freezes. Unlike U.S. style ice cream which can have up to 50% air, gelato has approximately 20% and 35% air. This results in a denser product with more intense flavor than U.S. style ice cream.