When the heat sends you into overdrive, head over to the nearest ice cream parlour or gelateria. No matter the weather, ice cream and gelato are loved by people of all ages. It’s the fastest and easiest way to cool yourself down. Not to mention, it serves as the perfect end for every meal. With the blazing heat and haze that’s currently hitting Malaysia, there’s no time like the present to enjoy some frozen goodness.
Origin of Ice Cream
There are many theories and speculation as to when it all started, but there isn’t a specific person credited with the invention of ice cream. Its origin dates back to 200 B.C. when the people in China invented a dish consisting of rice combined with milk and frozen by packing it with snow.
In 618 – 97 A.D., a food similar to ice cream was also eaten by King Tang of Shang, who had over ninety “ice men” who made the dish by mixing flour, camphor and buffalo milk with ice. Other renowned historical figures who often indulged in these icy desserts include Alexander the Great, who enjoyed eating snow and ice flavoured with nectar and honey.
Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar of the Roman Empire was said to have sent slaves up mountains to collect snow and ice to be flavoured with juice and fruit. These treats were considered a luxury food indulged in by the rich and powerful as not everyone was able to send servants up mountains to collect them.
In fact, the explorer, Marco Polo brought back a recipe resembling sherbet back to Italy from China.
Afterwards, it was believed that Catherine de Medici introduced the dessert to France after marrying King Henry II in 1533.
In the 17th century, King Charles I of England was said to have paid his chef to keep the recipe of ice cream a secret from the public. One of the earliest places to serve ice cream to the general public in Europe was France in the 17th century.
Differences between Ice Cream and Gelato
Can’t decide between ice cream or gelato? Guess what, you don’t have to! You can enjoy both but here’s some trivia if you’re curious as to what’s sets these two frozen treats apart. Fun fact, gelato is the Italian word for ice cream. The key factors which make them different are the ingredients, processing, serving temperature and, flavour and texture.
The main ingredients in making ice cream and gelato are milk and cream but a difference in ratio results in the two different desserts. Ice cream has a higher cream content whereas gelato has a higher whole milk content. Another difference in ingredients include eggs; ice cream contains egg yolks while gelato contains little to no eggs.
Both have to be churned, but the variation of stirring speed will vary the amount of air incorporated into the mixture. Gelato is churned at a slower rate which introduces less air and making it denser and more flavourful than ice cream. On the other hand, ice cream is churned quickly to whip in plenty of air and may contain as much as 50% of air. Resulting in a fast-melting consistency which isn’t as flavourful.
Storage and serving temperature
Ice cream is usually stored at low temperatures between -20 and -18°C where it will be firm enough to maintain its shape. It is then traditionally served at temperatures between -14 and -12°C where it is easier to scoop. Meanwhile, gelato is stored in warmer temperatures, around -12°C.
Flavour and Texture
Ice cream usually has a vast range of flavours compared to gelato, which has a narrower flavour profile. The difference in composition and storage temperature affect the taste and texture of the treats. Ice cream has a higher fat content causing for there to be a layer between the taste buds and the food.
Moreover, the colder temperature slightly numbs the tongue, making it harder to taste. Gelato, which contains less fat and is served warmer has a more intense taste. Texture-wise, ice cream has a fine crystal-like consistency, whereas gelato is silkier and smooth.
Ice Cream Parlours and Gelateria in Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur
Inside Scoop – With outlets in multiple locations, be sure to try out this well-known ice cream brand that is popular in the city’s neighbourhoods and malls. Their intense flavours and natural ingredients have earned them a spot in the hearts of ice cream fans. The ever-helpful staff is there to assist you with a smile and welcome you to sample their many flavours.
Softsrve – Introductions are unnecessary as this popular brand is famous for its soft serve ice creams with fog. With an array of toppings like popcorn, cotton candy, honeycomb and truffles, these aesthetically pleasing ice creams are definitely worth every bite. Find them at Sri Petaling and Damansara Uptown.
Kind Kones – Ever wanted to try vegan ice cream? Look no further as these vegan ice creams taste so good that you won’t even remember that it’s vegan. The creator and owner replaced the dairy base of the dessert with almond, cashew or coconut milk. They also serve other desserts such as cakes, doughnuts, yoghurt and drinks. Their products are preservative and additive-free, and gluten-free options are available too.
Joy St – This quaint and colourful gelateria has grown to have a myriad of flavours since their opening in 2017. With exciting flavours such as 2-a-day, sticky date, mango lime sorbet and even alcohol-infused flavours, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Their menu changes every 3 weeks, so you’ll never be bored. You can also get waffles with your gelato.
Urban Artisan – Hailing from Penang, this soft-serve ice cream parlour serves innovative flavours with a healthy twist as they use less sugar and a mix of fresh milk and cream to make their ice creams. Find flavours such as Hokkaido Lavender, Oceanic Sea Salt and Earl Grey tea on their menu. The unconventional flavour combinations are sure to wow your senses.
Ben and Jerry’s – This famous Vermont-based ice cream brand has recently landed in Malaysia and is located at Sunway Pyramid. Check out their fun and bright farm-themed store and be prepared to brave the long line of customers. They serve premium ice cream and sorbets with flavours that are sure to leave you craving for more!
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