Beat the Heat with Ice Cream, not Gelato

Gelato - Not as Good as Ice CreamFellow Metroblogging DC writer amandaa and I have been tossing around some ideas for a summer series on the best ice cream in the District and surrounding areas. What better way to cool off on these hot, sultry days that plague this area? To those who like fancy-sounding potentially evil ice cream alternatives, I have to ask: What the hell is the deal with gelato? It’s not ice cream, not an Italian ice and certainly doesn’t come in flavors I understand.

Please help me understand this difference. Better yet, if you have a favorite gelato spot, please let me know. I am will to try it again, but the stuff I got at the cafe under the National Gallery of Art fell short of the mark for being what I would call good or tasty. In fact, I threw out half of it. If you have seen me near ice cream, you know that never happens.

So is gelato really worth pursuing or is my intuition right that it is simply genetically inferior to ice cream?

3 Comments so far

  1. David (dkoran) on June 11th, 2008 @ 4:23 pm

    Per your request, Gelato : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelato

    However, as stated there, it’s not "Near Cream" (like Budweiser or Coors would be referred to as "Near Beer"), since the process uses a lower content of butterfat than ice cream (via whole milk) and, in turn gives it a different texture (not unlike soft serve). Unlike, unfortunately, as I grew up with with a penny pinching family on food stamps in the 1980s, Ice Milk, it’s also containing less water content as well (damn ice milk used to have chunky flakes of ice in it). I’m not sure how this relates to frozen custard, per se, as that it also something well paired for days such as these (along with Italian ices).

    Damn, now you got me hungry thinking about it… damn you Carl.


  2. cvillecsteele on June 12th, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

    In a word, gelato is "copout". Since it’s not regulated (like the phrase "ice cream" is), producers can get away with culinary murder… it can contain just about anything, and usually has loads of industrial emulsifiers (locust bean gum, carageenan, guar gum, etc.) and industrials sugars (dextrose, high fructose corn syrup)… If you’re in Italy, don’t hesitate to get gelato. In the US, let the buyer beware.

    For truly handmade, artisanal ice cream, made to order in single batches from local and organic ingredients, have a look at Perfect Flavor Ice Cream.


  3. brunchgirl on July 3rd, 2008 @ 6:39 pm

    True gelato is worth the hype, but I agree that there are a lot of bad imitators in DC. For good gelato, go to Dolcezza in Georgetown. It’s Argentine style, not Italian, but I think it’s excellent. And I highly recommend asking for tastes of a few flavors before deciding on one. They have a very interesting selection and I have been pleasantly surprised by a few flavors that I was not so sure about before tasting. Good gelato is an amazing treat and I actually prefer it to ice cream.



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