What is the Difference Between Gelato and Sorbet?

Are deserts only indulgences? Perhaps not entirely because they serve several important purposes. You can choose from a wide spectrum of tastes, enjoy the sensory pleasure of well-crafted dishes and relish the sense of self-gratification. Diners and creators can agree that it’s an integral part of the dining experience.

These often rich and filling foods have taken a unique twist now that more health-conscious consumers and chefs are looking for alternative ways to prepare them. Creating new texture and flavor combinations to these treats has been made easier thanks to the better-for-you concept.

Frozen desserts are incredibly diverse, and with so many flavors and varieties, it will surprise you at their subtle differences. Gelato and Sorbet are among the frozen desserts, each with its distinct characteristics. Let’s explore further below.

Gelato: What Is It?

The basis of gelato is a creamy custard made of whole milk and sometimes egg yolks (depending on where in Italy it is made), which gives the gelato its vibrant yellowish color. They are native to Italy, where you can find them in gelaterias all over that country.

Gelatos come in endless varieties – only your imagination limits the possibilities. Since the flavors will lose some intensity once the gelato is frozen, the added ingredients need to be more pronounced.

In its own right, Italian gelato is a highly nutritious food. Meaning it is no longer a seasonal product but an all-year-round snack available for lunch, even in winter. Authentic gelato is a passion in Italy and a very rooted tradition. They sell it in many Gelateria stores in every Italian city, even the smallest ones, in large quantities.  

Then What Is Sorbet?

The origin story of Sorbet is rather strange. The Roman emperor Nero, for instance, allegedly invented it by having his servants carry buckets of snow from the tops of the mountains to his royal dining hall, then mixed the ice with honey and wine.

But wherever it came from, “sorbet” refers to a frozen dessert made from fruit purees or fruit juice mixed with a sweetener—sugar, along with other flavors. If you go to Italy, ask for sorbetto. If you want to enhance the flavors and add a little kick, you can add wine and liqueur. On other occasions, you can also flavor the Sorbet with coffee or chocolate.

There are only two ingredients you will not find in Sorbet: dairy products or eggs. Sorbet has no air whipped in, so it’s much denser and has an increased flavor than ice cream. French cafes first used Sorbet as a dessert in the seventeenth century, and it originally served as a palate cleanser between large meals.

You can have a strawberry or chocolate sorbet after the main course as dessert. Or you can also cleanse your palate before the next course. For a refresher, ask for citrus or orange sorbets between dinner courses.

What Makes Gelato and Sorbet Different?

DifferenceGelatoSorbet
IngredientsMilk, Vanilla extract, Refined sugar,Skimmed milk powder and egg yolksJuice or puréed fruit,a sweetener (sugar), other flavorings—chocolate or coffee.Wine and liqueur
Fat contentThe butterfat content in gelato is between 4 and 9 percentBecause of its lack of cream, Sorbet is one of the lowest fat frozen desserts.
TextureAs gelato is gently churned, you can expect its texture to be thick and dense.Since Sorbet lacks cream, it has the lightest, icy texture of all frozen desserts. Granita ( Italian ice or water ice) is Sorbet where they constantly scrape ice crystals during freezing to create flaky ice.
FlavorThe flavors available for gelato can range from sweet cream to raspberry to stracciatella, and they can be flavored as diversely as ice cream.Sorbet has limited flavor options since it is based on fruit, and it has to be fresh fruit is the main ingredient. Watermelon and strawberry sorbets are popular flavors.
TemperatureTo avoid gelato’s dense texture becoming too rigid and difficult to enjoy, gelato is served at higher temperatures (between 10 degrees and 22 degrees Fahrenheit).  The warmer the serving temperature, the richer the flavor will be. To stay soft and edible, Sorbet is also served at warm temperatures (between 10 degrees and 22 degrees Fahrenheit). The taste is distinctly richer when the temperature is higher. 

There are almost no differences between frozen delights in their nutritional value. People feel satisfied eating fewer portions of gelato because it contains more calories and fats. In contrast, Sorbet is lower in fat but has fewer calories, making you eat more during the hot weather. Which is the healthier option?

Your answer will depend on your preferences. Moderation is the key to maximizing health benefits. Overdoing it is never a good idea. Then again, if you order with us, you can moderate your intake to some extent.

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