I have a dilemma. If I opened this ostensibly fair and balanced review with my true, genuine feelings about this gelato maker from DeLonghi, I would sound like a shill. See, I am swooning over this machine. There you have it.
But I want to give at least an appearance of critical judment, so I'll explain how this thing works and why I like it so much, so far. At this point I have only made two batches of ice cream in it, so my love is new-minted. But this machine is surpassing all my other ice cream makers (and I, um, have tried a lot of them. A lot.).
About Compressor Ice Cream Makers
This ice cream machine is a compressor model, which means that it has a refrigeration unit inside. It doesn't have a removable bowl that has to be frozen between every batch, unlike the less expensive models. This means that you can make batch after batch, and that you can put lukewarm mix in the machine — it doesn't have to be chilled. (The instruction booklet still recommends chilling the mix, however.) This type of machine is a step up in both quality and price from the popular $40 ice cream makers with the removable bowls.
But this step up means significantly improved performance and convenience. I already have a compressor model of ice cream maker, from Cuisinart. It's great to be able to make batch after batch. But I hate how loud it is — you can barely hear yourself think while it's running! It also takes about 60 minutes to churn a batch of ice cream, even when the mix is chilled.
DeLonghi Gelato Maker
Well, the DeLonghi gelato maker is a step up from the step up, if you know what I mean. It is significantly quieter than my other compressor ice cream maker. How much quieter? Well, if it's running in the dining room, I could have a conversation in the kitchen and barely notice the noise of the machine. It is so much quieter. My husband said that he thought it made at least half the racket. Not scientifically tested, but there you go.
The machine also is smartly built. The churner/dasher paddle is wide and seems to mix the ice cream more thoroughly. It also scrapes the walls of the bowl, so the ice cream doesn't build up in a thick, hard layer on the inner walls — as it does in my other machines.
The lid is fully closed — not open to the air — so there is no way for ice cream to run out over the sides of the removable bowl or out of the top. (This has happened to me with other models!) The machine came with a little paddle designed to scrape the ice cream out; it's just the right size.
The final (and greatest) advantage to this one is it is fast. I tried a lukewarm mix that had been chilled for just an hour, and a fully chilled mix. Both froze in about 30 minutes. I was seriously impressed.
Oh... and one more thing! The bowl, paddle, and lid are all dishwasher safe. This bowl is so easy to scrape out and clean, and that's just the cherry on top.
The one drawback is that the bowl is a little smaller than the bowls of my other ice cream makers. It says that it should only take a little less than 3 cups at a time. This is unfortunate, but not a terminal problem. After all, you can make batches back to back.
Ultimately, this machine is just a treat to use. I am swooning over it — speaking as a cook who makes ice cream nearly every week, this is the best machine I've used yet. It comes with a hefty price tag, but keep an eye out; Williams-Sonoma stores have had these on sale for under $150.
One last note: This is called a gelato maker, but this is probably just a better title for any of the home ice cream makers on the market. Gelato has significantly less air, and none of these machines can whip much air into ice cream. Here's a little more about gelato vs. ice cream.
More Ice Cream Maker Reviews:
• Product Review: Cuisinart Automatic Ice Cream Maker
• Review: Cuisinart ICE-50BC Supreme Ice Cream Maker
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Faith Durand)