TypeIce cream
Place of originItaly
Serving temperature−14 to −11 °C
7 to 12 °F[1][2][3][4][5]
Main ingredients
Ingredients generally usedFlavorings (fruit, nut, chocolate, etc.)[8][9]
VariationsFrozen custard
Other information
Usually served with a spade instead of ice cream scooper[15]

Gelato (Italian: [dʒeˈlaːto]; lit.'frozen') is the common word in Italian for all types of ice cream. In English, it specifically refers to a frozen dessert of Italian origin. Artisanal gelato in Italy generally contains 6–9% butterfat, which is lower than other styles of frozen dessert.[16][17] Gelato typically contains 35% air (substantially less than American-style ice cream) and more flavoring than other types of frozen desserts, giving it a density and richness that distinguishes it from other ice creams.[18][19][20]


In Italian, gelato means simply 'frozen' and is the generic word for any type or style of ice cream.[21] In English, however, the term has come to be used to refer to a specific style of ice cream derived from the Italian artisanal tradition.[22]


Main article: History of ice cream

In the 9th century, after the Muslim conquest of Sicily, frozen dessert such as sherbet was introduced in the island.[23]

In 1295, Marco Polo returned to Venice from China with a recipe similar to sorbet.[24]

Cosimo Ruggeri and Bernardo Buontalenti were 16th-century contemporaries who are credited by some sources with the invention of gelato,[25] while other sources claims that Sicilian cooks gradually modified the sherbet recipe over time, giving birth to the earliest form of gelato.[23]

In Florence, Cosimo Ruggeri is credited with creating one of the first gelati, fior di latte, at the court of Catherine de' Medici, in a competition with the theme "il piatto più singolare che si fosse mai visto" (lit.'the most unique dish that had ever been seen').[26][27][28][29]

In the 1530s, Catherine de' Medici took gelato to Paris.[25][30]

Circa 1565, Bernardo Buontalenti, an innovator in ice conservation, made a sorbet with ice, salt, lemon, wine, milk, sugar, egg, and honey,[31] "plus orange and bergamot flavouring".[32] Buontalenti is credited with inventing gelato alla crema,[25][28] whipped cream or egg cream gelato,[31][33] the precursor to modern Florentine gelato.[34][28]

In 1686,[28] Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli, a Sicilian,[35] brought his grandfather Francesco's[36] gelato-making machine to Paris, opened Café Procope and introduced the dessert.[37] Procopio obtained French citizenship, and a royal license from Louis XIV, making him the sole producer of the frozen dessert in the kingdom.[38][39][40] Being one of the first to sell gelato directly to the public[41] (prior to then it was reserved only for nobles),[42] and making it known in the rest of Europe, Procopio is sometimes referred to as "The Father of Italian gelato".[43]

In 1843, in the United States, Nancy Johnson patented the hand-cranked ice cream freezer: this innovation led to the broader dissemination of ice cream and eventually to industrial production.[44] In 1904, in the United States, Emery Thompson built the first automated ice cream machine.[45]

In 1945, in Bologna, Bruto Carpigiani began selling gelato-making equipment,[46][47] and created Motogelatiera, the first automated gelato machine.[33] The batch freezer made it easier to store frozen desserts.[33] Carpigiani is a big manufacturer of gelato machinery.[47]

The largest ice cream cone in the world was created in 2011 in Rimini during the 32nd edition of the International Exhibition of Handcrafted Gelato, Pastry, and Bakery. The cone, made with over 2000 wafers, was 2.81 meters tall and weighed 70 kg. Leading the team of 7 artisans who accomplished the feat was the chocolatier Mirco Della Vecchia.[48]

Commercial production

The process consists of heating the ingredients to 85 °C (185 °F) for pasteurization. Then, it is lowered to 5 °C (41 °F) and mixed to the desired texture. The mixed gelato is then batched in the freezer.[49] In the "sprint" process, milk or water is added to a package of ingredients which is then mixed and batched.[citation needed]

As with other ice creams, the sugar in gelato prevents it from freezing solid by binding to the water and interfering with the normal formation of ice crystals. This creates smaller ice crystals and results in the smooth texture of gelato.[50] Commercial gelati are often sweetened with inverted sugar, sucrose, dextrose, or xylitol,[51] and may include a stabilizer such as guar gum.[52]


The original fior di latte is a plain, base ice cream with no flavor and no eggs added. Stracciatella is fior di latte gelato with chocolate chunks. Traditional flavors of gelato include crema ('custard'), vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut, almond, and pistachio.[53] Modern flavors include a variety of fruit flavors and also new, unexpected flavors such as extra virgin olive oil or basil.

See also



  1. ^ "Story". Herne Hill railway station: Minus 12˚ Craft Ice Cream. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  2. ^ "Ice Cream vs. Gelato vs. Sherbet vs. Sorbet: What's the Difference?". MasterClass. 28 September 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  3. ^ "Gelato FAQs". ecco un poco. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  4. ^ "Gelato vs. Ice Cream". sweetcycle. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  5. ^ Mullan, Michael. "Plotting freezing point curves for ice cream and gelato mixes". Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  6. ^ Druckman, Charlotte (30 May 2017). "Why You Haven't Heard of America's Greatest Gelato Maker". Eater. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  7. ^ This, Herve (11 May 2019). "Conservation de sorbets et glaces". Hervé This vo Kientza. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  8. ^ "Olive Oil Gelato Recipe". Serious Eats. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  9. ^ "Il gelato artigianale" (in Italian). Pasticceria Mosaico di Aquileia. 31 July 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  10. ^ "Traditional Frozen Treats". Molecular Recipes. KQ2 Ventures LLC. 28 June 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  11. ^ "I grassi in gelateria: perché utilizzare la panna e quando è possibile sostituirla". Frascheri Professionale S.p.A (in Italian). 20 May 2021. Archived from the original on 6 October 2022. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  12. ^ Quirk, Mary Beth (14 July 2017). "What's The Difference Between Ice Cream, Frozen Custard, and Gelato?". Consumer Reports. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  13. ^ D'Ulivo, Lucia (15 May 2018). "Come fare il gelato in casa: 3 trucchi per risultati da gelateria". Edible Molecules. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  14. ^ Davis, Bea. "May is Artisan Gelato Month". Paris Gourmet. Carlstadt, New Jersey. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  15. ^ "Gelato v Ice Cream: Temperature & Method". Bravo Gelato. Archived from the original on 6 July 2022. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  16. ^ "Calorie e valori nutrizionali del gelato", Paginemediche [1]
  17. ^ M. T. Wroblewski (6 December 2018). "Nutrition Facts on Gelato Compared to Ice Cream". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  18. ^ Poggioli, Sylvia (17 June 2013). "Italian University Spreads the 'Gelato Gospel'". NPR. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  19. ^ Goff, H. Douglas (June 1997). "Colloidal aspects of ice cream—A review" (PDF). International Dairy Journal. 7 (6–7): 363–373. doi:10.1016/S0958-6946(97)00040-X. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 July 2022.
  20. ^ Goff, H.D.; Caldwell, K.B.; Stanley, D.W.; Maurice, T.J. (May 1993). "The Influence of Polysaccharides on the Glass Transition in Frozen Sucrose Solutions and Ice Cream" (PDF). Journal of Dairy Science. 76 (5): 1268–1277. doi:10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(93)77456-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
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  23. ^ a b Goldstein, Darra (2015). The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199313396.
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  25. ^ a b c Gemelli, Marco (9 May 2013). "Chi inventò il gelato? Sfida fiorentina tra Buontalenti e Ruggeri". Il Forchettiere (in Italian). Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  26. ^ "Storia del gelato e della crema fiorentina Buontalenti". About Florence (in Italian). Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  27. ^ Caviezel, Luca (2016). Scienza e tecnologia del gelato artigianale (in Italian). Pinerolo: Chiriotti. ISBN 9788896027271. OCLC 104596040.
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  29. ^ "Buontalenti, l'artista che inventò il gelato fiorentino". FirenzeToday (in Italian). 15 August 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  30. ^ Jewkes, Stephen (1 October 2012). "Italy opens world's first gelato culture museum". Reuters. Archived from the original on 6 July 2022. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  31. ^ a b Jones, Adam (26 July 2019). "The story behind Italy's love of gelato". ItaliaRail. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  32. ^ Steadman, Philip (13 April 2021). "The 'garden of marvels' at Pratolino". Renaissance Fun: The Machines Behind the Scenes. 7: 279–327. doi:10.2307/j.ctv18msqmt.16. ISBN 9781787359161. JSTOR j.ctv18msqmt.16. S2CID 241909486. Retrieved 6 July 2022. Giovanni Battista della Porta describes a method by which 'Wine may freeze in glasses' using saltpetre (Natural Magick, English edition, 1658, p. 324
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  41. ^ Johns, Pamela Sheldon (2000). Gelato!: Italian Ice Creams, Sorbetti & Granite. Ten Speed Press. p. 12. ISBN 9781580081979. Gelato found commercial success in France in 1686, where it was created by Sicilian Francesco Procopio dei Cotelli at Café Procope in Paris.
  42. ^ Rex-Johnson, Braiden (2003). Pike Place Market Cookbook: Recipes, Anecdotes, and Personalities from Seattle's Renowned Public Market. Sasquatch Books. p. 152. ISBN 9781570613197.
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  44. ^ US 3254, Nancy M. & Johnson, "Artificial Freezer", published September 9, 1843 
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Further reading