Guest Blogger: What’s the difference between ice cream, gelato, sorbet and sherbet?

Now that summer is here, there is one thing that comes to mind when I’m out in the hot sun – ice cream! I love ice cream, gelato and sorbet but I never understood what the difference was between them.

Read the article below by Confessions of a Dietitian member – Amanda Li to learn about the differences between ice cream, gelato, sorbet and sherbet. Amanda Li is a dietitian and professionally trained chef. She has her own ice cream business called Fro-ZEN Creamery where she specializes in making unique and custom flavours for restaurants and consumers.

We All Scream for Ice Cream!

No matter how full you are there just always seems to be room for a scoop of ice cream! According to Statistics Canada, an average Canadian eats a whooping 4.8L a year! But with so many flavours and varieties to choose from how do you choose between hard ice cream, soft ice cream, gelato, sorbet or sherbet? And what exactly is the difference among all these different frozen novelties? Well I’ve got it all answered for you below:

Hard Ice Cream: Made with cream, milk, sugar and flavourings (fruits, nuts, essences, etc). Contains between 18-30% milk fat and air is incorporated to the batter.

Soft Ice Cream: Exactly the same as hard ice cream but stored at a higher temperature.

Gelato: Made with milk, sugar and flavourings. Contains between 4-7% milk fat and no air is incorporated to the batter and is served slightly warmer than ice cream.

Sorbet: Made with fruit and sugar, hence they are all fat-free! Suitable for those with lactose-intolerance, milk allergy or vegans.

Sherbet: Made with sugar, fruit and a touch of cream.

Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert: Made with a non-dairy milk alternative (i.e. coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc.), sugar and flavourings. Suitable for those with lactose-intolerance, milk allergy or vegans.

Take note and don’t be fooled by fake ice cream! Okay, okay, maybe not exactly “fake” ice cream, but definitely not the real deal! Given that ice cream is an occasional treat, I’m assuming that you would want to make sure you are eating the best of the best, or at least not the “fake” stuff. Nowadays, many of the products for sale in the ice cream aisle at the grocery store are labeled as “frozen desserts” (a.k.a. “ice cream look-a-likes”). These are made mostly with palm or coconut oil instead of milk or cream.

In Canada, frozen dairy desserts may be labeled and marketed as ice cream only if they contain ≥ 10% milk fat, or when cocoa or chocolate syrup, fruit, nuts or confections have been added, 8% milk fat. Next time you grab for a tub of ice cream, look for the words ICE CREAM and if it has the little symbol of a cow then you know that it is made from 100% Canadian milk.

This symbol indicates that products is made entirely from 100% Canadian milk or milk ingredients
This symbol indicates the product is made entirely from 100% Canadian milk or milk ingredients

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