The ice cream glossary you need to know RIGHT NOW!
Whether you are spending these hot Michigan days at the beach, at the park, or even just in your living room with the fan on high, ice cream is always a good idea. For me, I am always in the mood for frozen dairy treats, regardless of the season. But which dairy treat to choose? From gelato, custard, frozen yogurt, to soft-serve, there are so many options. Are these just fancy words for ice cream or are they actually different?
The answer is YES, these treats are all unique. I decided to do a tasting journey of my own in the Lansing area to better understand the differences. This trip was definitely not waistline approved, but, you know, sometimes you need to indulge! Get the scoop (pun intended) with our ice cream glossary below.
Hard vs. Soft Ice Cream
Ice cream is a mixture of milk, cream and sugar. It can be served either soft or hard. Soft serve ice cream is much lower in milk fat (between 3-6%) than hard ice cream (10-18%). Another key difference is that hard ice cream is usually served at 5°F to 8°F, whereas soft serve ice cream is served at 10°F to 18°F. The slightly warmer temperature of soft serve makes it softer and creamier than hard ice cream.
If you have ever visited Italy, then I hope you tried gelato. The Italian’s ice cream right? I’ve never been, but I can tell you the buffet lines in Las Vegas have some fantastic gelato! One thing is for sure: Gelato is much different than ice cream. First, gelato is made from milk instead of heavy whipping cream. Also, gelato contains 5% butterfat, which is a third less than premium ice cream. It is also churned at a higher temperature and a slower rate, incorporating less air and making it much denser than ice cream. The last difference is gelato is served at a slightly warmer temperature than hand-dipped ice cream (10°F to 12°F compared to 5°F to 8 °F). I visited Iorio’s Gelato located on the Michigan State University campus. (The original store was founded in Ann Arbor, MI, so it’s a Michigan treasure!) The two flavors I tried were coffee and salted caramel and they were amazing! I noticed gelato is much richer in flavor compared to ice cream.
Affogato al caffe
It’s simple and perfect for coffee addicts like me. Affogato al caffe is a shot of espresso poured over a scoop of ice cream. “Affogato” means “drowned” in Italian. One of my favorite Affogato’s is from Blue Owl Coffee located in Reo Town, Lansing. Their ice cream comes from Moo-ville Creamery, a dairy farm located in Nashville, MI, that processes their milk into ice cream, milk, and cheese.
Frozen yogurt is made from yogurt, so it typically contains less fat than ice cream. Frozen yogurt may or may not contain live and active bacterial cultures from the yogurt, which can help regulate your digestive system. Most shops are self-serve and are available in a variety of flavors and toppings. To me, frozen yogurt tastes tarter than ice cream.
Like gelato, custard is denser than ice cream because it contains less air. Custard is made from milk, cream, AND egg yolks, which makes it unique from ice cream. My go-to place for good custard is…Culvers. Yes, you guessed it! Some of my favorite flavors there are Andes Mint Avalanche and Vanilla.
Drum roll…the verdict
When it all is said done, the greatest difference between these dairy frozen treats is the fat percentage. If I had to choose a favorite, it would be gelato. I really enjoyed the gelato varieties and different flavors. Honestly though, this mint chocolate chip ice cream addict would be JUST fine eating any kind of ice cream. One thing is for sure, no matter which one I choose, I know I can’t do with just one scoop!
Sweet. Creamy. Delicious. Yes, ice cream falls into all three categories, and our friends from Dairy Good have awesome ice cream stats if you are interested in learning more here!
Do you have a favorite flavor or an undeniably dairy ice cream story to share? Head over to @MilkMeansMore on social media and let us know! We love hearing from our undeniably devoted fans.