10 Fascinating Facts About Gelato

No trip to Italy would be complete without tasting some delicious local gelato. Whether you enjoy this creamy concoction as a cooling mid-afternoon snack or like to dig into a bowl after dinner, gelato is a must when staying in our Italian villas! This sweet treat is a favourite amongst all ages and taste buds, with a spectacular selection of flavours to choose from. Gelato actually has quite a fascinating history, and we thought we’d share some of our favourite facts about this cooling delicacy today!

A selection of Italian gelato in a shop near our villas

1. The word ‘gelato’ is derived from the Italian word ‘congelato’ which means frozen. Although, gelato isn’t frozen to quite the same temperature as your typical ice cream, often being between 5 and 15 degrees Fahrenheit warmer!

2. Although the exact history of gelato is somewhat under debate, the most popular story credits Bernardo Buontalenti from Florence with its creation.

3. A Sicilian fisherman called Francesco Propocio dei Coltelli created the first ever gelato machine in 1686 and helped to bring it to popularity. Soon after, he opened a café in Paris named Café Procope, where Parisians flocked for fine gelato and coffee.

4. Despite having been made commercially viable in 1686, it wasn’t until the 1920s and 1930s that gelato really became a popular treat when gelato carts were introduced. It has only gained more and more lovers over the years. Since 2009, the industry has grown from around £8 million to £160 million!

5. Gelato is typically sold in gelaterias, which you’ll find all over Italy! The person serving the creamy snack is called a gelatai, and if they’re using a paddle rather than a scoop, that’s a good indication of authenticity!

6. The typical ingredients of gelato are fruit, sugar and milk, and tend to have less fat and more flavour than regular ice creams. This is due to a lessened amount of milk fat, which can be as much as 14% less, alongside the lack of egg yolks.

7. Some of the most popular flavours of gelato in Italy include chocolate hazelnut (bacio), vanilla rippled with chocolate chips (stracciatella), lemon (limone) and pistachio (pistachio)!

8. One of the best features of gelato is its creamy, smooth consistency, which is due to the lower air content, which can be up to 50% less, meaning that the frozen delight melts faster giving you a richer taste.

9. There’s an International Gelato World Cup named Coppa deel Mondo della Gelateria, where people travel from countries such as Japan, Morocco, Spain and Poland to compete for the best gelato dishes, sculptures and sundaes!

10. There are lots of terminologies that you should know when ordering your gelato; affogato is perfect for those in need of a coffee buzz, as the fine gelato with be doused in delicious espresso. If you’re in search of a sundae style dessert with whipped cream, you’ll be asking for a gelato con panna, or if you are craving a gelato sandwich, a brioche con gelato is for you!

If you want to know more about this tasty treat, have a read of our ‘Ultimate Guide to Gelato‘ What’s your favourite flavour? Let us know via our social media channels!