gelato cupThe world has had the pleasure of enjoying ice cream for thousands of years. Of course, it was not quite the same creamy deliciousness we know and love today, as ice cream has a humble past as a simple shaved ice dessert. But as we know, there are plenty of different forms of ice cream, each with their own rich history.

This is especially true for gelato. This Italian classic has a history all its own, and here we take a trip into the past so you can learn more!

The origins of gelato
Historians are up in the air over who exactly invented the first recipe for gelato, but many agree that Bernardo Buontalenti, a Florence native, is responsible. A confectioner for the Medici family, Buontalenti first brought his creamy creation to Caterina de Medici for a celebration for the visiting King of Spain.

Gelato goes public

The first gelato cup sold was by Sicilian Francesco Procopio Dei Coltelli. He sold gelato all across Europe and eventually settled down in Paris, where he opened a cafe in 1686, called Café Procope. It soon became a known culinary haunt across the city. This cafe became popular for serving interesting gelato cups filled with exotic coffee mixed with gelato and served in decorated egg cups.

Keeping it in the family
The art of traditional gelato making in the 17th and 18th centuries was handed down from father to son. Each family had their own recipe, and many brought their creations with them to America when they immigrated. The first record of this sweet dish in the states was in the 1700s, when Giovanni Basiolo opened up an ice cream shop in New York City. The first flavors on Basiolo's menu were cinnamon, coffee, chocolate, and pistachio.

Ice cream vs. Gelato
When gelato first came to the market, it was highly unusual because of its consistency. Gelato contains between 3%-8% milkfat and 25%-30% air, compared to ice cream, which has up to 50% air. Gelato is also only served in scoops and doesn't come in soft serve.

So with its rich, international history in mind, don't you just feel like grabbing some gelato cups to taste for yourself?