As the weather starts to get warmer and the days longer, the lines at our local ice cream shops get a bit longer. Not surprising as frozen desserts were already on people’s minds as early as 200 BC in China. The first published recipe for ice cream was seen in London in 1718. Frozen ices started the craze in Italy as early as the 1500’s. Ice cream was introduced to the United States by Quaker colonists who brought their ice cream recipes with them. Confectioners sold ice cream at their shops in New York and other cities during the colonial era. Ben Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson were known to have regularly eaten and served ice cream. First Lady Dolley Madison is also closely associated with the early history of ice cream in the United States, having served ice cream at her husband’s Inaugural Ball in 1813. (wikipedia)

But is it just ice cream? Or sherbet? Gelato or sorbet? Frozen custard or yogurt….too many choices and confusing for many. I would like to try to clear the air for picking the perfect cup of cool goodness this summer.

Gelato is Italy’s answer to ice cream. It is typically more flavorful than regular ice cream, has less butterfat (around 10% to ice creams 20%) and is served a little softer than ice cream. Gelato is also more dense as air is not mixed in during processing, resulting in a richer, creamier texture.

Premium ice cream has a higher fat content and less air than standard ice cream,can have higher quality ingredients and comes in small packages – think Haagen Daz. Regular ice cream can feel “puffy” and less creamy due to the added air – resulting in a cheaper sales price. (think Hoodsies) Ice cream is available as light (what was once called ice milk), fat free, no sugar, etc. This part is self explanatory, I believe.

Frozen yogurt is essentially a frozen dessert based on yogurt not cream. Similar to ice cream, true frozen yogurt is tarter and has less fat than ice cream. Frozen yogurt was introduced in New England in the 1970s as a soft serve dessert by H. P. Hood under the name Frogurt. In 1978, Brigham’s, a Boston based ice cream, candy & sandwich chain developed and introduced the first packaged frozen yogurt under the name Humphreez Yogart. It was originally intended as a healthier alternative to ice cream but consumers complained about the tart taste . Manufacturers began production of a recipe that tasted sweeter and frozen yogurt took off in the 1980s, reaching sales of $25 million in 1986. In the early 1990s, frozen yogurt was 10% of the dessert market. (fact from Wikipedia.com) Of course this means that the once healthy option of frozen yogurt can be as guilty as regular ice cream these days.

Frozen custard is similar to ice cream, but contains eggs. Frozen pudding is a chilled dessert consisting of a mixture of custard, fruit, nuts and (sometimes) liquor – typically rum.

Sherbert is made with 1-2% milk fat and is sweeter than ice cream. Sorbets have 0% dairy, based on sugar syrup and fruit, wine, chocolate or liquer. Sorbet is very similar to a granita found in Italian kitchens.
Italian ice is like sorbet, and in Philadelphia their version is called water ice, a shaved ice with a flavored syrup poured over. I called them snow cones growing up.

So their you have it – from creamy full fat goodness to guilt free icy coldness – enjoy a bite of summer! What is you favorite flavor?

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Hello world!

May 4, 2010

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Since starting my business in 2008, I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned that I need a good butcher, because I don’t always know the best cut of meat. I have learned how to appreciate electric ranges. I have learned how to prepare meals I would not choose for myself. I have learned how to appreciate a mother’s challenge for feeding picky eaters, busy families and different eating styles. I have learned how to make food pretty, not just tasty. I have learned that sensitive fire alarms will go off at the most inopportune moments. I have learned to be neater in the kitchen, shop early for the best selection and to call ahead for special items. GPS is a chef’s best friend. Always carry bandaids. And above all else, I have learned to laugh at myself, even when my confidence fails me, or the day doesn’t go as planned. Because in the end, I have learned that my cooking has always been appreciated, and a clean kitchen is the best gift I can leave a client…but homemade cookies never hurt either. Thank you to my current clients and I look for the chance to cook for new clients soon.