R5 Gelato vs. Ice Cream

So, what exactly is the difference between centuries-old and loved ice cream and the relatively new (to the U.S., anyway) Italian gelato? We brought Chef Matthew Karp of Plates (121 Myrtle Blvd, Larchmont 914-834-1425) to our office and asked him to taste test the two—and tell us if he tastes any difference. We used Longford’s Own-Made (longfords icecream.com) ice cream and gelato in three flavors: vanilla, pistachio, and coffee/espresso. And? Karp’s highly tuned palate was able to discern the difference between the two in each case. “They’re loosely defined,” he admits, “but there’s less air and less butterfat in gelato and, therefore, the result is stronger flavor. Also, in each case, the gelato looked more natural.”

â–  Vanilla Ice Cream vs. Vanilla Gelato
“I can taste vanilla extract in the ice cream. It’s also milkier and creamier. The gelato, however, is sweeter, and there’s more vanilla flavor. You can see the flakes of vanilla bean, but it’s so intense that it takes on an almost medicinal quality.”
â–  Pistachio Ice Cream vs. Pistachio Gelato
“The ice cream is pleasant, but there’s an artificial flavor. The smell is also coming off as slightly alcoholic. The gelato, on the other hand, tastes like they ground pistachios into the paste.”
â–  Coffee Ice Cream vs. Espresso Gelato
“The ice cream is good, but I can taste the extracts again. It’s also gummier. The gelato has an intense flavor—you can see the espresso beans—almost manufacturing a buzz. It’s like coffee ice cream on steroids.”

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