Oh Gelato, the wonderful creamy goodness. One of Italy’s most popular import products.
Originally from Sicily (hey, we’re re-visiting this island again! The Sicilians are a bunch of inventive people…), the Italian word gelato is derived from the Latin word gelatus, which literally means frozen. So you’re eating frozen. Just let it go.
Anyways, the story of gelato goes back to the days of the Roman Empire, when cold desserts came to be. Back then however, they were made from snow and ice from the mountains, which was the origin of the sorbet. In 1686, the first gelato machine was invented by a Sicilian man (who would’ve guessed). It took 3 more centuries to have gelato become widely popular though.
By then, the fame of gelato had reached many countries all over the world, with companies starting to industrialize the process.
However, true gelato is always hand-made. What makes us like gelato so much, might just be the density of the ice. Due to the gelato being churned at a significantly slower rate than industrial ice cream, less air is incorporated, which makes it much denser and intense.
Fun fact: On average hand-made gelato – the kind you find in Italy – contains about half the amount of fat (6-10%) that is in industrial ice cream (8-12%).
Here are my favourite Gelaterias you should definitely check out when in Rome:
- Verde Pistacchio on Via Nazionale.
- Gelateria della Palma. Via della Maddalena 19/23, opposite the Pantheon.