Ice Cream vs. Gelato
Premium ice creams are made with fresh cream (not condensed or powdered milk), real eggs, and natural flavorings. Quality ingredients aside, lesser ice creams also have more air whipped in. As much as half the carton may be air, in fact. More air--or "overrun"--means softer ice cream that scoops more easily and melts more quickly. Premium ice creams have very little air added; gelato has no air added at all. (There’s a minimal amount of air that's incorporated naturally because of the churning process.)
Gelato and some premium ice creams are so dense that they require a slightly higher serving temperature, a perfect point where your scoop is firm but not hard and not so soft that it melts immediately. Gelato recipes usually include more egg yolks, more milk and less cream. It actually has less fat than regular ice cream, but gelato's low overrun makes for an extremely dense, rich and creamy treat.
Sorbets are all about fruit. With no milk, cream or eggs, they depend only on sugar, lemon juice and fresh fruit for flavor. Elegantly simple and refreshingly tart, sorbets were the rage during Victorian years, when they were served as palate cleansers between rich, heavy courses. A sorbetto, the more intense Italian version, generally has more fruit and less water, resulting in a softer, less icy texture. The key is FRESH fruit, for sorbets made with cooked fruit will taste like cold jam rather than the best of summer frozen in a scoop.