Gelato is a frozen dessert of Italian origin. It is made with a base of 3.25% butterfat whole milk and sugar. It is generally lower in fat than other styles of frozen desserts. Gelato typically contains 70% less air and more flavoring than other kinds of frozen desserts, giving it a density and richness that distinguishes it from other ice creams.
Bernardo Buontalenti is credited for making the forerunner to gelato. However, gelato in its modern form is credited to the Italian chef Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli who in the late 1600s opened his "Café Procope" in Paris and introduced gelato at his café, earning notability first in Paris and then in the rest of Europe. Thanks to his gelato, Procopio not only obtained French citizenship, but also got an exclusive royal licence issued by King Louis XIV, making him at the time the sole producer of the frozen dessert in the kingdom.
In the 1900s-1950s, different innovations made the automatic production of Gelato easier. The Motogelatiera, the first automatic machine to produce gelato, was created. Other innovations, like the batch freezer, made it easier to store frozen desserts such as gelato. Around the 1940s, Bruto Carpigiani worked to create machines that would make the production of gelato safer and easier. Nowadays, Carpigiani is one of the biggest manufactures of gelato machinery. Today, gelato is known worldwide and Italy is the only country where the market share of artisanal gelato versus mass-produced gelato is over 55%.
The traditional flavours of gelato consist of vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut, pistachio, cream (also known as custard) and stracciatella (fior di latte gelato ,with chocolate chunks). Fior di latte ("milk flower") is plain, base ice cream with no flavour and no eggs added.
More modern flavours consist of fruity flavours such as raspberry, strawberry, apple, lemon and pineapple.