I love ice cream. I eat it all the time. If I ever went on a diet, I would fail miserably because I just can’t give up my ice cream.  I’m sure there are plenty of other ice cream lovers out there too, and some of them just might be studying abroad.

Now I’ve also heard that Italian ice cream, gelato, is one of the smoothest and most wonderful ice cream to try.  I’ve had gelato here in the States, but I’ve never had the experience of eating authentic gelato in Italy.  Two of my friends who studied abroad in Italy this past summer filled me in on their top five flavors.

Allie, a 21-year-old speech, language, and hearing sciences major, said her top 5 are:

  1. Dark Chocolate (very rich tasting)
  2. Banana (don’t let its bright yellow color scare you)
  3. Tiramisu
  4. Raspberry
  5. Mint (I love American mint ice cream; I can’t wait to try the gelato version!)

Lee, a 20-year-old design major, said her top 5 are:

  1. Pistachio (green and creamy with a hint of nuttiness)
  2. Cinnamon
  3. Banana (a common favorite apparently)
  4. Stracciatella (similar to American chocolate chip, but with finer chips)
  5. Mango

Apparently, though, it is uncommon to just get one flavor at a time.  Lee said she would always come away with a cup of 3 or 4 different flavors—a good tip for any Italy-goers.

So I bet you’re asking what makes gelato so special?  For starters, gelato is churned at a much slower speed than regular ice cream.  Less air gets into the mixture this way, and it creates a much denser cream.  It’s also made with different proportions of whole milk—as in, it contains less fat!  And of course, gelato isn’t meant to be frozen like American ice cream; it is typically stored at a slightly warmer temperature.  But even with all these differences, the one thing the two will always share: you can’t resist another bowl full!

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