Place of originItaly
Region or stateFlorence, Tuscany
Created by
Inventedc. 1530
Serving temperature−14 to −11 °C
7 to 12 °F[1][2][3][4][5]
Main ingredients
Other informationUsually served with spade instead of ice cream scooper[15]

Gelato (Italian pronunciation: [dʒeˈlaːto]; lit.'frozen') is the common word in Italian for all kinds 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 kinds of frozen desserts, giving it a density and richness that distinguishes it from other ice creams.[18][19][20]


In the Italian language, gelato is the generic word for ice cream and means simply "frozen", independent of the style, so every kind of ice cream is referred to as gelato in Italian.[21] In the English language, however, the word gelato 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 1295, Marco Polo returned to Venice from China with a recipe similar to sorbet.[23]

Cosimo Ruggeri, Bernardo Buontalenti, and Catherine de' Medici were 16th-century contemporaries who are variously credited with the invention and spread of gelato.[24]

In Florence, Cosimo Ruggeri is credited with creating the first gelato, 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" (the most unique dish that had ever been seen).[25][26][27][28]

In the 1530s, Catherine de' Medici took gelato to Paris.[24][29]

Circa 1565, Bernardo Buontalenti, an innovator in ice conservation, made a sorbet with ice, salt, lemon, wine, milk, sugar, egg, and honey,[30] "plus orange and bergamot flavouring".[31] Buontalenti is credited with inventing gelato alla crema,[24][27] whipped cream or egg cream gelato,[30][32] the precursor to modern Florentine gelato.[33][27]

In 1686,[27] Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli, a Sicilian,[34] brought his grandfather Francesco's[35] gelato-making machine to Paris, opened Café Procope and introduced the dessert.[36] Procopio obtained French citizenship, and a royal license from Louis XIV, making him the sole producer of the frozen dessert in the kingdom.[37][38][39]

In 1904, in America, Emery Thompson built the first automated ice cream machine.[40]

In 1945, in Bologna, Bruto Carpigiani began selling gelato-making equipment,[41][42] and created Motogelatiera, the first automated gelato machine.[32] The batch freezer made it easier to store frozen desserts.[32] Carpigiani is a big manufacturer of gelato machinery.[42]

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 cold process mixes the ingredients and is batched in the freezer.[43] 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.[44] Commercial gelati are often sweetened with inverted sugar, sucrose, dextrose, or xylitol,[45] and may include a stabilizer such as guar gum.[46]


The first, fior di latte ('milk flower'), 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 cream (also known as custard), vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut, almond, and pistachio.[47] Modern flavors include raspberry, strawberry, apple, lemon, pineapple, and black raspberry.[citation needed]

Further reading

See also



  1. ^ "Story". Minus 12˚ Craft Ice Cream. Herne Hill railway station. 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. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  5. ^ Mullan, Michael. "Plotting freezing point curves for ice cream and gelato mixes". Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  6. ^ "Traditional Frozen Treats". Molecular Recipes. KQ2 Ventures LLC. 28 June 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  7. ^ "I grassi in gelateria: perché utilizzare la panna e quando è possibile sostituirla". Frascheri Professionale S.p.A (in Italian). 20 May 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  8. ^ Quirk, Mary Beth (14 July 2017). "What's The Difference Between Ice Cream, Frozen Custard, And Gelato?". Consumer Reports. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  9. ^ D'Ulivo, Lucia (15 May 2018). "Come fare il gelato in casa: 3 trucchi per risultati da gelateria". Edible Molecules. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  10. ^ Davis, Bea. "May is Artisan Gelato Month". Paris Gourmet. Carlstadt, New Jersey. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  11. ^ Druckman, Charlotte (30 May 2017). "Why You Haven't Heard of America's Greatest Gelato Maker". Eater. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  12. ^ This, Herve (11 May 2019). "Conservation de sorbets et glaces". Hervé This vo Kientza. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  13. ^ "Olive Oil Gelato Recipe". Serious Eats. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  14. ^ "Il gelato artigianale". Pasticceria Mosaico di Aquileia (in Italian). 31 July 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  15. ^ "Gelato v Ice Cream: Temperature & Method". Bravo Gelato. 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. ^ Sylvia Poggioli (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.
  21. ^ "Gelato in the Italian-English dictionary". Cambridge Dictionary.
  22. ^ "Gelato in the English dictionary". Cambridge Dictionary.
  23. ^ "Storia del gelato fiorentino: Caterina de' Medici e Buontalenti". It's Tuscany (in Italian). Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ "Storia del gelato e della crema fiorentina Buontalenti". About Florence (in Italian). Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  26. ^ Caviezel, Luca (2016). Scienza e tecnologia del gelato artigianale (in Italian). Pinerolo: Chiriotti. ISBN 9788896027271. OCLC 104596040.
  27. ^ a b c d "Gelato: A history of the world's favorite dessert and traditionally authentic gelaterias in Florence". Destination Florence. Florence: Destination Florence Convention & Visitors Bureau scrl. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  28. ^ "Buontalenti, l'artista che inventò il gelato fiorentino". FirenzeToday (in Italian). 15 August 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ a b Jones, Adam (26 July 2019). "The story behind Italy's love of gelato". ItaliaRail. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  31. ^ 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
  32. ^ a b c "History". Carpigiani Gelato Museum. Archived from the original on 7 October 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  33. ^ David, Elizabeth (20 January 2011). Harvest of the Cold Months: The Social History of Ice and Ices. Faber & Faber. ISBN 9780571275328.
  34. ^ "FRANCESCO PROCOPIO CUTO'" (PDF). Comune di Palermo (in Italian). Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  35. ^ Sorini, Alex Revelli; Cutini, Susanna. "Procopio Cutò e il gelato". enciclopedia digitale di culture e politiche alimentari. Accademia Italiana Gastronomia e Gastrosofia. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  36. ^ Polliotti, Luciana (2017). Il genio del gelato. Francesco Procopio Cutò. Storie d'amore, di talento e di alchimia tra Palermo e Parigi (in Italian). Bologna, Italy: Fausto Lupetti Editore. ISBN 9788868741860.
  37. ^ Olga Stornello (1 November 2018). "Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli: the man who invented gelato". Sicilian Post. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  38. ^ Polliotti, Luciana (1999). Gelati gelati. Milano: Mondadori. ISBN 9788804447283. OCLC 432911498.
  39. ^ Caviezel, Luca; Polliotti, Luciana (2010). I pochi segreti e le molte virtù del gelato artigianale di tradizione italiana : spunti di riflessione sul mestiere di gelatiere nel terzo millennio (con una galleria di ricette, anche storiche). Longarone: Longarone Fiere. OCLC 963873066.
  40. ^ Donati, Silvia (2 July 2015). "Foodie Guide to Gelato". Italy Magazine. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  41. ^ Jennings, Sheri (23 September 2010). "The inside scoop on making gelato". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  42. ^ a b "Taste the History of Gelato". ITALY Magazine. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  43. ^ "Ice Cream Hardness". Ice Cream Calculator. 31 May 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  44. ^ Omran, A. Monem (July 1974). "Kinetics of ice crystallization in sugar solutions and fruit juices". AIChE Journal. 20 (4): 795–803. doi:10.1002/aic.690200422.
  45. ^ Hills, Sarah (1 April 2009). "Danisco unveils gelato concept for industrial production". FoodNavigator. William Reed Ltd. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  46. ^ "COSA È LA BILANCIATURA?". Gelato Per Passione (in Italian). 12 August 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  47. ^ Thompson, Kelly R.; Chambers, Delores H.; Chambers IV, Edgar (June 2009). "Sensory Characteristics of ice cream produced in the United States and Italy" (PDF). Journal of Sensory Studies. 24 (3): 396–414. doi:10.1111/j.1745-459X.2009.00217.x. Retrieved 6 July 2022.