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 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]

Place of originItaly
Region or stateFlorence, Tuscany
Created by
Inventedcirca 1530
Serving temperature−14 to −11 °C
7 to 12 °F[1][2][3][4][5]
Main ingredients
Other informationserve with spade not scoop[15]
  •   Media: Gelato


In the Italian language, gelato is the generic word for ice cream, 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] This is similar to the word chai, the generic word for tea in multiple languages like Hindi, Persian, Russian, Turkish and Swahili, that in English has come to refer to a specific style of tea of Indian origin.


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 contemporaries.[24]

In Florence, Cosimo Ruggeri (died 1615), 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".[25][26][27][28]

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

Since 1565, Bernardo Buontalenti (1531–1608), an innovator in ice conservation, made a sorbet, with ice, and salt, consisting of lemon, wine, milk, sugar, egg, and honey,[30] "plus orange and bergamot flavouring".[31] and is credited with inventing gelato alla crema,[24][27] the egg cream gelato,[30][32] 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] Italy is the only country where the market share of artisanal gelato versus mass-produced gelato is more than 55%.[citation needed]

Commercial productionEdit

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 readingEdit

  • Hartel, Richard W.; Goff, H.Douglas (2013). Ice Cream (7th ed.). New York: Springer. ISBN 978-1-4614-6095-4.

See alsoEdit

  • Stracciatella, a gelato that includes chocolate chunks
  • Semifreddo, a class of semi-frozen dessert
  • Custard, a dessert made with cream, eggs, and vanilla
  • Frozen custard, a frozen dessert made with cream and eggs
  • Frozen yogurt, a frozen dessert made with a base of yogurt rather than milk
  • Granita, a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water, and various flavorings
  • Italian ice, also known as water ice, a frozen dessert made from syrup concentrate or fruit purees over crushed ice
  • Sorbet, called sorbetto in Italian


  1. ^ "Story". Minus 12˚ Craft Ice Cream. Herne Hill railway station. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
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  3. ^ "Gelato FAQs". ecco un poco. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  4. ^ "Gelato vs. Ice Cream". sweetcycle. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
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External linksEdit