Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Lily. Lily Wonders, “How was gelato made and why is it so popular?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Lily!

Mmmm. On a hot day, there’s nothing quite like the cold delicious treat we all know as ice cream. But have you ever WONDERed whether ice cream is a favorite everywhere?

Frozen treats are common all around the world, and they come in many shapes and sizes. For example, imagine you’re visiting Italy. What would you find there? You’d find a delicious, sweet, cold concoction similar to ice cream. It’s called gelato!

Gelato comes from the Latin word for “frozen.” Like ice cream, gelato is made with milk, cream, and sugars. It also comes in a wide variety of flavors. Have you ever had gelato? If so, you know it’s a bit different from ice cream.

There are three main ways in which gelato differs from ice cream. First, gelato has a lot less fat. Ice cream usually has a fat content of about 18-26 percent. Gelato is often less than 10 percent fat content.

Less fat doesn’t mean less taste, though. Gelato is famous for being particularly creamy and full of flavor. Less fat does mean that gelato isn’t frozen as solidly as ice cream. It’s usually served 10-15 degrees warmer than ice cream. This means gelato melts in your mouth more quickly, letting you experience more robust flavors.

Finally, gelato is denser than ice cream. When ice cream is made, a lot of air is added. This increases the quantity that’s produced. As quantity is increased, though, quality can decrease. No air is added to gelato, which makes it a higher quality treat with a rich flavor.

Does it surprise you that ice cream contains so much air? Since it’s a delicious frozen treat, you’d probably never guess that air is a key ingredient. If you let one cup each of ice cream and gelato melt, though, you can see that there’s more gelato left in your cup!

If you find yourself in Italy and are hungry for a cool treat, definitely seek out some homemade gelato. You can find it in gelato shops known as gelateries. Of course, gelateries exist all around the world. And you can find gelato in most grocery stores, too. If you’re a fan of ice cream (and, really, who isn’t?), then don’t miss your chance to try gelato the next time you see it!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

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