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The Difference Between Gelato & Ice Cream


The Difference Between Gelato & Ice Cream

Amato Gelato

When Mario's Gelati opened its first gelato shop in Vancouver, the word "gelato" was not as widely recognized as it is now. In fact, most of the earlier signage displayed by Mario's Gelati was followed by "Italian Ice Cream" so that people could more easily identify the frozen treats that the company was crafting.

But does "gelato" simply mean "Italian Ice Cream"? Gelato and ice cream are the same thing right? Well.....not exactly. 

There are significant differences between traditional Italian gelato and North American ice cream. Here's an easy breakdown of the two:


Ice cream is normally made with a minimum butter fat percentage of 10-20%, whereas gelato's butter fat is only 3-8%.  Less fat in Gelato allows flavours to be more defined so it can actually taste creamier than ice cream.


The amount of air in gelato and ice cream is created by the speed of the churning process. Gelato can contain anywhere from 10-30% of air while the amount of air that is intentionally added and churned faster into ice cream is up to a whopping 110%. This means that a 500 ml container of gelato can actually weigh the same as a 1 litre of ice cream.


Gelato is normally served about 7 degrees warmer than ice cream. If ice cream was served at the same temperature as gelato, it would be melted. The warmer serving temperature of gelato does not freeze your taste buds and creates a more flavourful experience.


Pistachio, Spumone, Stracciatella, Nocciola or Fragola: No matter the flavour, gelato is a delicious treat to be shared in the company of family & friends. Its recipes & techniques are based on tradition and we are happy to share our love of it with you.