Vanilla gelato is the Italian version of ice cream made with authentic ingredients paired with a classic vanilla flavor. Gelato is known for its intense flavor, sweet, smooth texture and clean taste. Gelato means “frozen” in Italian.
Although that sounds super simple, there is so much more to know about gelato, including the specific elements used to make it and the particular ways it should be styled and served. Gelato is an exciting dish with many nutrition benefits to understand and study. Nonetheless, the most intriguing thing about gelato is perhaps the history of its origins.
What’s the History Behind Vanilla Gelato?
Asian crops have discovered that they can consume crushed ice and flavors. Five hundred years afterward, it became a custom for Egyptian Pharaohs to offer their guests a cup of ice sweetened with fruit juices. Then, as it evolved through the centuries, came the Italian Renaissance during the 14th century, when gelato was officially developed by renowned artist and architect Bernardo Buontalenti.
Pairing Vanilla Gelato with Favorite Dishes
No one would expect the pleasant surprise of vanilla gelato when biting into an almond croissant, which is why it makes it a must-have. It can also be served on the side.
A traditional Sicilian summer treat is a con gelato brioche, an Italian-style croissant cut in half and filled with one or two – or even three – gelato balls. A variant is with a bombolone, a donut filled with cream covered with sugar. It’s an interesting twist on the classic ice cream sandwich.
Edible Wafer Spoon
Why use a real spoon when you can use an edible wafer? With its added crunch and delicate crisp bite, a wafer spoon is a delicious way to enjoy vanilla gelato.
Vanilla gelato tends to use more milk than cream. In contrast, ice cream calls for heavy cream. It churns slower, so less air is incorporated, which some say makes gelato denser or thicker than traditional ice cream — making it an excellent topping for almost all deserts.
How Is Vanilla Gelato Made?
Gelato is made with milk, or sometimes skim milk instead of cream, which gives gelato a much lower milk fat content. Less milk fat allows gelato flavors to stand out compared to the more blended flavors of ice cream. Gelato’s rich taste is helped because it has less air whipped into it than ice cream, making it denser.
Vanilla gelato comes in second as the most popular flavor, and it doesn’t have to be boring. Gelato makers create different levels of intensity and color based on other vanilla beans. Gelato with subtle vanilla flavoring is brown or yellow, but gelato without intense flavoring is white. Madagascar grows most of the world’s vanilla, followed by Mexican and Tahitian beans.
Where Does Vanilla Come From?
Vanilla originates from a tropical orchid native to Mexico but is grown in various equatorial areas including Central America, Africa and the South Pacific. More than 80% of global vanilla comes from Madagascar.
Vanilla orchid grows on a vineyard, and on vanilla farms, every vine needs its tree to grow on. It can take three years or more for a vine to reach maturity and flower. Surprisingly, when the vanilla plants flower, the flowers last for one day.
In addition, the vanilla flower needs to be pollinated by hand on the exact day of flowering. Creating vanilla is a highly labor-intensive process.