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Whether you eat gelato all year round or you’re saving it for the spring and summer months there are 11 facts about this tasty treat that you have to know.

  1. “Gelato” comes from the Italian “congelato,” which means frozen. It’s not like every other frozen treat out there though – there are some key differences between gelato and ice cream, for example, such as the fact that gelato has less cream and no egg yolks.
  2. Gelato has less fat than ice cream. Given this fact many people puzzle over how it can have more flavour. This is down to the creation process, as less air is churned into gelato than ice cream. You’ll also find less buttermilk in gelato – buttermilk tends to coat the palette and prevent flavours getting through.
  3. It matters how gelato is served. Avoid anywhere using a scoop – it should be served with a paddle or anything with a flat surface.
  4. If you ordered a gelato a century or so ago you’d probably get a sorbet. Early cold desserts were much more likely to be sorbet-style than similar to the gelato we know today. Particularly as there was a shortage of milk in Italy when gelato first made an impact it’s highly likely that it would have had more water content than it does now.
  5. There’s a Gelato World Cup (Italy usually wins). Teams are pitted against each other to make sundaes, sculptures and dishes. At the last one, teams from Morocco, Poland and the US all failed to beat the Italians.
  6. The first gelato café opened in Paris in 1686. Café Procope was owned by Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli, who was a Sicilian fisherman and chef. It still exists today.
  7. Gelato is served warmer than ice cream. This is why it’s silkier and softer, texture-wise, and is another reason why the flavours tend to come through more.
  8. There are lots of different ways to eat gelato, as well as on its own. For example, you can have a gelato ice cream sandwich (brioche con gelato) or get yours with whipped cream (gelato con panna).
  9. There are some key flavours that you have to try where gelato is concerned. Chocolate hazelnut (bacio) is an essential gelato tasting experience. Stracciatella is basically chocolate chip and a must try, as well as pistachio and lemon (limone).
  10. The Italians can get quite adventurous with their flavours. Some of these might be appealing – such as fig or watermelon – while others take a bit more courage to try. Viagra gelato, for example, is a new, bright blue one – it doesn’t actually contain the drug but a selection of African aphrodisiac herbs.
  11. We are increasingly loving gelato. In fact, it’s starting to become more popular than ice cream. As a result you can now find gelato being produced by some of the big names in frozen desserts, including Häagen-Dazs.

Gelato is a versatile and delicious option whether you’re celebrating or looking for a tasty weekend treat. It’s flavourful, lower in fat than ice cream and there’s an epic range of flavours to sample too.