When visiting amazing, culturally rich cities like Florence and Rome, there is one treat sold on almost every corner — authentic Italian gelato. Gelato’s heritage dates all the way back to 1559, in the Italian Renaissance, when the Medici family commissioned famous artist and architect Bernardo Buontalenti to prepare an opulent feast for the visiting king of Spain. For the special occasion, Buontalenti created a new frozen dessert, made from a few simple ingredients such as milk, eggs and honey. And thus the first gelato was created, and Buontalenti is now heralded as the inventor of this creamy Italian dessert.
Americans often wonder what the difference is between ice cream and gelato. The main difference is texture! The gelato’s lighter texture comes from using more milk than cream, which also means less fat and fewer calories. It is stored at warmer temperatures, increasing the richness of the flavors and ensuring a smooth texture. Of course, there are also artisanal ice cream makers who also work every day to create fresh products in a unique American tradition.