The Real Scoop on Gelato vs. Ice Cream

(Image credit: Marc Buehler/Flickr)

When the weather warms up, which cool treat do you turn to: ice cream or gelato?

Turns out, many of you prefer gelato, as sales of the Italian treat rose from $11 million in 2009 to an estimated $214 million in 2014, according to the market research firm Mintel.

But what really sets these two summertime staples apart? A myriad of things, actually. Gelato uses less cream than ice cream, resulting in less butterfat, which means it’s lighter and needs less air churned into it. The result: a creamier, denser product. Gelato is also more flavorful than ice cream, as the lower fat content and serving temperature allow you to truly experience the flavors on your palate.

If you’re ever concerned about whether you’ve got a real-deal cup of gelato or not, the proof is in the serving vessel. Traditional gelato should be served with a spade — flat and spatula-like — not an ice cream scoop.