Gelato vs. Ice Cream: What Are the Main Differences and Equipment Used?

There are many things we love and enjoy that we owe the Italians for, from the incredible fashion we like to copy, the classic cars, and the laidback “dolce vita” lifestyle, to, of course, the heavenly coffee, red wine, and food. While aperitivo, pasta and pizza are all the craze worldwide, it’s the gelato that gets my attention when the weather starts getting warmer. This is why, as I’m longing for summer, I’m dedicating this blog post to Italians and gelato.

The beginnings of gelato go way back in time, even as far as thousands of years ago in various cultures. However, more recently in the 16th century, we have three Italian names being credited as gelato inventors and makers: Ruggeri, Bernardo Buontalenti, and Francesco Procopio di Coltelli. Whoever it was, one thing is certain that we need to get straight – gelato isn’t ice cream. It’s almost sinful to consider it so because of the science behind it that differentiates it from the counterpart we know too well.

What Makes Gelato Different from Ice Cream?


There’s no doubt both are similar in the fact they’re frozen desserts, yet this similarity ends with the properties of gelato that set it apart. For one, it’s creamy and smooth since it’s heavy on the milk instead of cream.

As such, it contains less fat, and it’s more flavourful. It’s also low on the air because the churning process is slower. You know what this means, right? It’s a really tasty guilt-free pleasure you can enjoy without worrying about your figure or weight loss! This explains why it’s one of my favourite desserts!

Of course, for the consistency to be what is expected to be, you need to have the right gelato maker and handy gelato freezer designed to produce and keep the tasty dessert in top condition. If you’re interested in running a patisserie business, which can be quite the thriving choice in Australia as we’re the third country worldwide based on ice cream consumption per capita, then you’d be interested in reading further.

Importance of Gelato/Ice Cream Equipment

Choose Based on The Type of Frozen Dessert

Some ice cream makers can double up for gelato making too, others only make one or the other, and there are those that are also specialised in making sorbet, soft serve ice cream, and frozen yoghurt. So, be sure to know what you’re getting into prior to the purchase of the valuable machinery.

The Freezing Element

Gelato freezer

Another important aspect of an ice cream/gelato maker of quality is the freezer. You can’t have the mixing without freezing because it affects the consistency and texture, which can affect the quality of the product. Advanced designs are created with various programs for the different frozen desserts, so they keep the freezing temperatures optimal per need. What ice cream needs in freezing isn’t the same for gelato, for example, considering the creaminess of gelato should be preserved at a temperature that’s about 10 to 15 degrees warmer than that of the counterpart with the ideal range between -18 and -20.

This, along with the suitable ice cream display freezer, is the most crucial investment for the business, and I can’t stress this enough. What I mean by this is you require utmost care and attention when choosing such pieces to be certain you make and store the dessert properly. The freezer and display cabinets ought to have the ideal temperatures as well, but that’s not all there is to them that you ought to know. The capacity, size, and features are just as important, so don’t overlook them.

The Useful Features

Gelato freezer

For utmost convenience with customer sales and maintenance, look for a gelato freezer and display case that offers a 360-degree display, an anti-fog system, LED lighting for proper illumination of the products, several display levels, and energy-saving features to help you out with cutting down on the additional expenses. The ability to manage different operating temperatures at the same time is just as essential, especially in case you plan on storing different types of frozen desserts.

As far as the cooling system goes, ice cream does well with both static and ventilated, whereas gelato only with ventilated. The difference is static is powered by natural air circulation, as opposed to the ventilated that works with fans to help circulate the air and cool evenly. This ensures the gelato stays in optimal shape and condition when being displayed. Last but not least, you have cleanliness as a decisive factor.

The Cleanliness and Maintenance

Since cleanliness is imperative with any business that revolves around food, you’re going to spend a significant amount of your time sanitising the equipment. With this in mind, it’s necessary to choose the equipment pieces based on how easy they are when it comes to cleanliness. If a design guarantees quick and easy tool-free maintenance, and easy disassembling and reassembling of the parts, then it’s worth the investment.