Forget the frozen yogurt craze.  It’s summer and perfect time for an authentic cold Italian treat – gelato.  Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream which is made with milk, cream, sugars and various intense flavorings (fruits, nuts, etc.).

Gelato and frozen desserts date back to early Roman times which were initially made of snow and ice from the mountain tops and then brought down and preserved below ground.  Obviously times have changed, in the 1920s Gelato carts sprung up throughout Italy and now you can find gelato worldwide.

What makes this treat so interesting and different from ice cream, it is made containing little or no air, thus no crystalized ice chunks.  Although it is rich and creamy in texture, gelato tends to be slightly less fattening due to its lower butterfat content.  Ice creams can be between 10-2o% butterfat, however gelato tends to run under 10%, closer to 6-8% butterfat.  A favorite of ours is the stracciatella gelato (aka chocolate chip), shown in this photo.

Have you had any gelato yet this summer?  Tell us, what is your favorite flavor?  Do you make it yourself?