gelato spoonsAh, gelato: ice cream's creamy, dreamy, velvety European cousin. And now more than ever, the frozen dessert has made its way into the hearts and stomachs of dessert eaters across the United States -- and Americans consume A LOT of dessert. In fact, there are approximately 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream and other frozen dessert treats produced in the U.S. annually, and no doubt, gelato is among the ranks.

But what makes gelato so different from ice cream? The answer lays in the texture and how it's made.

While extremely similar, gelato is simply Italy's version of ice cream, and it differs in three key ways:

Less Fat
Gelato has a significantly smaller amount of fat than typical ice cream: gelato contains between 3 to 8% milkfat while ice cream contains between 18 and 26%. Yet contrary to popular belief, less fat does not mean less taste. Rather, gelato contains less ice crystals than ice cream, and therefore, melts in the mouth faster, giving a consumer a full-body flavor almost instantaneously.

More Dense

When ice cream is produced, it is created by mixing cream, milk, and sugar. Then, it is churned with air. This helps the mixture to double, containing 50% more air after the product is churned. In contrast, gelato contains only 25 to 30% air. As a result, gelato has a dense, creamy texture.

Slightly Colder
Finally, gelato is served at a slightly colder temperature than ice cream is. This helps it to maintain its glossy, custard-like texture. Sometimes, it might be better to eat this in ice cream cups rather than cones, or else it will melt everywhere!

One more thing...If you have ever had gelato, you'll know that gelato spoons are different from regular spoons. Instead of a typical tasting spoon, gelato spoons are round and flat like a shovel. The flat nose helps eaters to scrape across the bottom of the bowl more efficiently.
So what's your favorite flavor of gelato? Share your favorite in the comments below.